February 18th, 2009 weds
February 18th, 2009

Quiz: Of these U.S. Presidents, which one was not once a lawyer? Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, Richard Nixon, Andrew Johnson?

Yesterdays’ question answered below: In live action moviemaking, what is a Martini Shot?
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History for 2/18/2009
Birthdays: Queen Mary I Tudor -Bloody Mary, Pietro Guarnieri the violin maker, Harry Grover- Seeley one of the founders of Paleontology, Louis Tiffany, Andre Segovia, Wendell Wilkie, Billy de Wolfe, Enzo Ferrarri, Yoko Ono is 76, Jack Palance, Milos Forman is 77, Bobby Bachman of the Bachman Turner Overdrive, Gahan Wilson, Johnny Hart, Matt Dillon is 45, Cybil Shephard is 59, John Travolta is 55, John Hughes, Dr. Dre

1842- Two hundred of New York City’s high society and top politicians held a banquet in honor of the visiting English author Charles Dickens. Dickens kept confounding everyone with his insistence on touring the cities prisons and poorhouses.

1856- The KNOW NOTHING PARTY held their first –and only, presidential convention. Officially called the American Party but famous for responding to reporters questions as “they knew nothing” This 3rd party was formed over anger at growing immigration. They sought to curb the influx and civil rights of non-native born Americans especially Roman Catholics from Ireland and Italy. They nominated ex president Millard Filmore for re-election but their ranks were broken up over disputes over slavery and their movement sputtered out.

1878- THE LINCOLN COUNTY WARS- John Tunstall, a Scottsman who gave a number of young cowboys work on his ranch in New Mexico, was murdered while his bodyguards were hunting wild turkeys. Tunstall was buried in his clan tartan kilt. This murder sparked a running gun battle between Tunstall's group led by his attorney John McSweeny, a town merchant named Murphy, rancher John Chisum and most of the county. One of Tunstall's hired hands turned this range war into a personal vendetta that would make his name famous- Billy the Kid.

1885-Mark Twain's 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' published.

1888- The Hotel Coronado in San Diego Cal. opened for guests. It remains one of the largest remaining wood structures in the U.S.. Several presidents stayed there, the Duke of Windsor may have met Mrs. Simpson there and films like the Marilyn Monroe film Some Like it Hot and The Stuntman were shot there.

1930- The planet Pluto discovered- in 1909 Scientist Lord Percival Lowell had detected signs of a planet at the edge of our Solar System beyond Neptune but could not definitely confirm or identify it. They named it for the time being 'Planet X' The Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona had searched in vain for decades until Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tumbaugh, an amateur astronomer who was allowed to occasionally use Lowell’s telescope to justify the public grants they got. Lord Lowell had just passed away before the discovery he had dedicated his life to. Recently a consortium of scientists demoted Pluto from a planet back to just a big-ass icy asteroid status.

1950- First Mr. Magoo cartoon "Ragtime Bear".

1953- First 3-D movie "B'wana Devil" starring Robert Stack.

1970- The Chicago 7, Yippie leaders of the anti-war rioting in front of the Democratic presidential convention of 1968 were found innocent of all charges. David Dillinger, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, Tom Hayden and the other guys. One of their offenses was trying to get a 250 pound pig onto the floor of the Convention so they could get it nominated for President.

1972- President Richard Nixon and Pat Nixon land in China.

1973- Richard Petty the Stock Car King won his first Daytona 500 race . He would go on to win 6 more and prove that NASCAR racing was one of America’s favorite though most under reported sports.

2001- Dale Earnhardt Sr, the reigning NASCAR racing car champion, died in a crash on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. His eldest son Dale Jr. placed second.
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Yesterday’s Question: In live action moviemaking, what is a Martini Shot?

Answer: The last shot of a long day of shooting, which means drinks to follow.


February 17th, 2008 Tuesday
February 17th, 2009

This week marks a week of events and parties leading up to the Oscars on Sunday.

Tonight will be a seminar for the director of the Oscar nominated shorts.

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Quiz: In live action moviemaking, what is a Martini Shot?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Did George Washington really cut down a cherry tree?
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History for 2/17/2009
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, Montgomery Ward, Red Barber,Michael Jordan, Marian Anderson, Chaim Potok, Jim Brown, Rene Russo, Michael Bay, Jerry O’Connell, Cybil Shepard, Barry Humphries ( Dame Edna) is 75, Denise Richards is 38 and Paris Hilton is 28

3,201BC- According to Sumerian records from today in the month of Hilu to the month of Eshil-March 30th occurred the GREAT FLOOD, that the story of the flood of Noah in the Bible was based on. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1920’s theorized that the Great Flood was the tidal backwash caused by the sinking of the lost continent of Atlantis.

1673- MOLIERE DIED. The great playwright was suffering from tuberculosis and was in failing health, but he insisting on playing the lead in his final play "The Imaginary Invalid". Tonight when asked to rest instead, he responded" There are fifty workman here who won’t get paid if we don’t play". He played Argan, a hypochondriac who imagined himself dying.
In the final act he uttered the word "Juro I swear," and was seized with a violent coughing fit. He covered with a joke and finished the play, but later was carried home where he died choking on his own blood. The local priest refused to come and give him Last Rights because of his Tartuffe making fun of religious types. Moliere was one of the greatest playwrights and poets of the age and Frenchmen equate him with Shakespeare.

1864-THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL SUBMARINE ATTACK-. The Confederate submarine Hunley ,after testing that drowned 23 men including the inventor, sails, err, chuggs, actually it was driven with a screw turned propeller -screws it's way to Yankee ships blockading Charleston Harbor. It attaches a underwater bomb called a David to the hull of the U.S.S. Housatonic. The david exploded sinking the Housatonic, but it also dragged down the Hunley and it’s 13 man crew to a watery grave. The first modern diesel/electric submarine was developed by John Holland in 1894. Recently archaeologists raised the Hunley from the harbor and even found the lucky gold dollar the captain kept in his pocket. Researchers also found the graves of one of the earlier test crews under the concrete foundation of a Charleston football stadium.

1865- Gen. Sherman burns Columbia, S.C. The POPULARITY OF THE CIGARETTE- Everyone knew the Civil War was almost over, yet try and reason with Uncle Billy. Sherman's army fresh from burning Georgia spread a wide path of destruction through the Carolinas. When Sherman's men reached the capitol of South Carolina they took special revenge in destroying the city where the first vote to secede took place. Yankee's sang "Hail Columbia, Happy Land; If I don't burn you I'll be damned!" Cigarettes were gaining popularity in Spain and Latin American while in the U.S. tobacco was taken chiefly in cigars, pipes and chaw. A South Carolina planter in Durham had just finished developing the perfect mild blend of cigarette tobaccos, Bull Durham, when Sherman's bluecoats arrived to loot and torch the factory. Instead of tragedy things worked out well for the fellow. After the Civil War the Yankees went home to towns from Maine to California and talked of the good smoke they had in Carolina. Soon it was a national passion. Hey man, you got any papers?

1876- The invention of canned sardines.

1877- THE SATSUMA REBELLION-Part of the modernizing of Japanese society after the Mejii Restoration was the phasing out of the Samurai class. Some moved into the officer corps of the new western trained army. Many of the samurai, rather than bear the shame of demotion to peasantry, emigrated to Hawaii under the invitation of King David Kalakaua IV. But some samurai didn’t go quietly. When ordered by the government to give up their swords, a large samurai army led by Takamuri Saigo revolted and has to be put down in several bloody battles. Takamuri committed suicide but later all is forgiven. One of the Satsuma clan retainers will go to the Naval Academy and become Grand Admiral Togo, father of the modern Japanese Navy.

1906- In a White House wedding ceremony President Teddy Roosevelt saw his eldest daughter Alice married to Congressman Nicholas Longworth of Ohio. Alice was as free spirited as her father, Once when confronted about her escapades Teddy remarked "I can run the country or control Alice, but I cannot do both."

1911- General Motors installed in their Cadillacs the first automatic starters, replacing the handcrank. It was developed by Charles Kettering, the reason he did it was because a friend of his stopped to assist a young lady's who's engine had stalled. When he tried to get the engine started again using the hand crank, it kicked back and hit him in the jaw, breaking it and eventually causing gangrene, which eventually killed him.
Kettering spent many years at GM and started the Delco brand of auto parts. He also was responsible for fast drying paint which allowed a car to be painted in almost instantly on an assembly line instead of days. He sold the idea to an unbelieving client by having his car taken from the parking lot, painted and returned over a long lunch.

1912- THE NEW YORK ARMORY SHOW-Mabel Dodge and Gertrude Stein introduce Post expressionist modern art to the U.S. public. The first U.S. showings of Picasso, Matisse, Duchamp and the Italian futurists. The show was denounced as a "chamber of horrors" and Matisse was burned in effigy in Chicago. Marcel Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase" was described by an art critic as "an explosion in a shingle factory". Duchamp was highly gratified, I believe.

1925- First issue of Harold Ross’s The New Yorker magazine.

1942- Ernst Lubitsch’s screwball comedy about the Nazis "To Be , Or Not To Be"debuted. Adolf Hitler enters a room and after everyone "Seig Heil" salutes him, he replies "Heil Myself!" But the film flopped because it’s female star Carole Lombard died tragically in a plane crash shortly before the premiere.

1945- Nazi scientists abandoned the Pennemunde, the V-2 rocket testing site as Allied armies overran the area.

1958 – Johnny Hart’s comic strip "BC" 1st appears

1967 – The Beatles release "Penny Lane" & "Strawberry Fields"

1979- A Prairie Home Companion radio show starring Garrison Keilor was first broadcast nationally. It was a feature on Minnesota Public Radio since 1974.

1987- Soviet premiere Mikhail Gorbachev revealed President Ronald Reagan's preoccupation with space aliens: "At our meeting in Geneva, the U.S. President said that if the earth faced an invasion by extraterrestrials, the United States and the Soviet Union would join forces to repel such an invasion. I shall not dispute the hypothesis, though I think it's early yet to worry about such an intrusion..."

1989- "Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure" premiered starring the most excellent Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. Whoah-Dude!

1992- Jeffrey Dahmer sentenced to life in prison without parole for drugging, torturing, murdering, cannibalizing 15 young men. Two years later he was beaten to death in prison by another murderer who had killed three other inmates because God told him to.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Did George Washington really cut down a cherry tree?

Answer: In the 1800 a Parson Mason Weems wrote a best selling book about the early life of George Washington. He was the origin of a lot of fanciful stories like the cheery tree, “ I cannot tell a lie”, and throwing a gold dollar across the Potomac. He claimed he got the mythical stories from an old neighbor who called herself Washington’s cousin.


February 16th, 2008 Monday
February 16th, 2009



I really enjoyed the trailer for Nina Paley's animated feature Sita Sings the Blues. Yeah, I know... I came to it later than all you cooler people out there. But hey, better late than never.
Too bad it didn't make it for Oscar competition this year, but I heard there was some trouble about the commercial rights to some old blues music. I hope it can qualify next year. Here is the website- check out the trailor on YouTube.

http://www.sitasingstheblues.com
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Quiz: Did George Washington really cut down a cherry tree?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Question: Why is a police van for transporting prisoners called a Paddy Wagon?
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History for 2/16/2009
Birthdays: Henry Adams, Charles Taze Russell founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Edgar Bergen, Sonny Bono, John MacEnroe, Frank Welker, John Schlesinger, Faith Hubley,
Katherine Cornell, John Corligiano, Kim Jong Il, Levar Burton is 52, Ice-T is 51

In America it’s HAPPY PRESIDENT’S DAY, a silly three day holiday devoid of any emotional meaning created by Richard Nixon in 1970 to usurp the double days off of Lincoln’s Birthday Feb 12 and Washington’s Birthday Feb 22nd.

In ancient Rome it was the Festival of Quirinalia- when the founder of Rome Romulus was taken up into the clouds and became the god Quirinus

Today is the feast of St. Juliana, who was tortured by both her father AND her boyfriend. I know a lot of you girls out there can relate to that. She also liked to wrestle winged devils in her spare time.

1804- To The Shores of Tripoli....The U.S. Navy goes to North Africa to try and get the Barbary Pirates to leave Yankee merchant ships alone. The Barbary Pirates had been extorting money from Mediterranean shipping for three hundred years but they weren’t a problem while American shipping was under British Royal Navy protection. But now the little republic was on it’s own. When the Bey of Algiers demanded his usual payoff the U.S. Congress said: "Millions for defense, but not one cent for Tribute!" So the US Navy was sent.
The frigate U.S.S. Philadelphia was sent to Tripoli harbor to threaten, but only managed to get stuck on a sand bar and her entire crew became hostages. On this day Captain Stephen Decatur sneaked into Tripoli harbor and burned the Philadelphia. British Admiral Nelson said it was "one of the boldest actions of the age. "Actually more valuable was when Decatur landed a small force of U.S. Marines and Greek mercenaries who overland surprised the largest Algerian fortress at Dara and terrified the Bey of Algiers into making peace. Decatur took full credit. He said "My country right or wrong", commanded Old Ironsides in the War of 1812, and was killed in a pistol duel in 1819.

1842- Eccentric British General Charles Gordon resumed command of the Ever Victorious Army in China to defeat the Taiping Rebellion. The Ever Victorious Army was a force of mercenaries recruited by an American named Stone to help the Manchu Emperor defeat his enemies western style. The leader of the Taipings Tzu Wang Ti had told his followers he was the son of Jesus Christ come to Earth to lead them to victory. Gordon’s command soon destroyed the Taipings and Tzu had committed suicide by eating as much gold leaf as was necessary.

1863- THE DRAFT- U.S. Congress passed the National Conscription Act. The Confederates had started drafting a year before. Riots broke out in Northern cities whenever the draft board set up. Rich men could buy their way out of the draft for $300. John Rockefeller, Grover Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt’s father took that way out. There was a popular song of the era called "We are Coming Father Abraham, Three Hundred Thousand More" which was changed by bitter wags to We are Coming Father Abraham, Three Hundred Dollars More."

1923- Bessie Smith made her first recording-"Downhearted Blues".

1937- Chemist Wallace Carothers working for the Dupont Company received the patent for the synthetic fiber called Nylon. This fabric could replace expensive silk. By World War Two nylon stockings for women were so popular that limited by shortages resourceful women would draw a seam in pencil down their bare leg to impersonate the effect.

1942- Operation Drumroll- Hitler sent a wolfpack of 5 large long range U-Boat submarines to sink ships along the American coastline.

1978- The first computer bulletin board goes on live. Ward Christensen and Randy Seuss's Computerized Bulletin Board System was an S-100 motherboard and CP/M, and a Hayes 300 baud modem. It still runs to this day, but the Internet has taken the place that BBS's used to have

1987-"Family Dog" episode on Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories show. The first direction by Brad Bird, who also wrote the script.

1994- Apple announced the introduction of the digital camera, the first camera that needed no film but could load images directly into a computer.
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Question: Question: Why is a police van for transporting prisoners called a Paddy Wagon?

Answer: In the 1800’s in many large Eastern Cities, many of the police were of Irish origin, as were many of the urban gangs and waterfront toughs. Paddy was a common slang term for Irish People. Police vans were also called Black Mariahs and Mother’s Heart, because there is always room for one more.


February 15th, 2009 sunday
February 15th, 2009

Question: Why is a police van for transporting prisoners called a Paddy Wagon?

Answer to yesterdays question below : What place had the words written over it’s entrance: Abandon All Hope, All Ye Who Enter…”?
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History for 2/15/2009
Birthdays: Galileo, French King Louis XV, Michel Praetorius, Susan B. Anthony, Charles Tiffany, John Barrymore, Jane Seymour, Cesar Romero, Gale Sondergard, Melissa Manchester, Chris Farley, Claire Bloom, Chris MacDonald, Marissa Berenson is 62, Matt Groening is 55

Circa 980 a.d.- Today is the Feast of Saint Sigfrid, an Englishman who became the patron saint of Sweden. At the invitation of Viking King Olaf Tryggvason, Sigfrid came north from Glastonbury and baptized Swedish King Olaf the White. Once when Sigfrid was away and his nephews minding his church, the pagans grabbed them and cut their heads off. Saint Sigfrid made the dismembered heads preach to the pagans about the coming Judgement Day. Musta scared the BeeJeezus out of them.

1720- Young Francois Voltaire had begun a career as a successful playwright with his first play Oedipe. But his second play Artemire was booed as loudly as his first play was cheered. The irate poet ran up on stage and argued with the audience for over an hour, but the audience still thought the play sucked.

1764-The town of Saint Louis Missouri was established by French fur trappers ( les voyageurs) led by Pierre Ligueste.

1815- Things on the Island of Elba had gotten so quiet that the British officer in charge of Napoleon's exile, Sir Colin Cambell, informed his prisoner he was going on holiday to see his girlfriend in Italy. “Will you be back by the 28th?” Napoleon asked. “Yes, why ?” Oh, nothing. it's just my sister Princess Pauline is planning a party and we'd hate for you to miss it." In reality Nappy planned to escape and reconquer Europe. Pauline had her party on the 25th. Sir Colin returned to find his prisoner, and his career in the military, had flown the coup.

1836- The large Mexican Army of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna crossed the Rio Grande into the rebellious state of Texas. Santa Anna had mortgaged his own lands back home and put his field hands into uniform to bolster up his army.

1898- The U.S.S. Battleship MAINE EXPLODES in Havana Harbor, killing 252 sailors. The cause was never confirmed, it may have been a spontaneous igniting of fumes in the gunpowder magazine, but the American public was urged to blame Spanish sabotage.
The next day a motor launch out to the site of the disaster rescued the ships cat clinging to the mainmast protruding from the water. U.S. public opinion against Spain was pushed by "yellow journalists" like William Randolph Hearst and Josef Pulitzer who told his correspondent artist Frederick Remington: "You supply the pictures, I'll supply the war." American expansionists had been planning a war with Spain since 1896 and had tried to pick a fight over Cuba in 1871 and 1874. President McKinley, who Teddy Roosevelt described as having :"no more backbone than a chocolate eclair" gave in and declared War on Spain to cries of "Remember the Maine!". More Americans were killed on the USS Maine than in the entire Spanish American War, which was fought and over by December of the same year. America emerges as a power player on the world stage.

1903- British Major General Hector MacDonald was one of the most famous soldiers of the Victorian Era. Fighting Mac had laughed in the threat of fierce Afghan tribesmen, Boer bullets and Dervish’s spears and always triumphed. But he had a secret. The Love that Dare Not Speak It’s Name. He married young but abandoned his wife and son and now sought only the company of men. This day while serving as military commander of Ceylon, a leading cleric and several boys accused General MacDonald of homosexuality. Gays in the British Empire were not uncommon- Gordon of Khartoum, Cecil Rhodes of South Africa, even Earl Kitchener of Omdurman were known to prefer men to women. But never in the open. MacDonald tried to flee to England on medical leave but the General Staff ordered him to return and clear his name in a court martial. MacDonald instead went into his office and put his service revolver to his temple. All Edinburgh turned out for his funeral. Still friends and admirers refused to admit he was gone. There was a rumor that a successful World War One German General Von Mackensen was actually MacDonald under an alias since von Mackensen stayed in the Balkans and never faced English troops in battle.

1933- ATTEMPTED ASSASINATION OF FDR- Unemployed anarchist Guisseppe Zangara shot a pistol at President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a rally in Chicago.
He missed FDR but killed the Mayor of Chicago Anton Czermak. Guisseppe
Zangara was tried and sent to the electric chair the following month.

1947- During the anti-Communist witchhunts the FBI revoked the visa of famed documentary filmmaker and founder of the National Film Board of Canada John Grierson because they thought his politics were subversive.

1954- Future President and b-movie star Ronald Reagan tried doing a stand-up act at the Las Vegas Ramona Room with the "Honey Brothers", a comedy troupe similar to Abbot & Costello.

1965- Canada first flies the Maple Leaf flag.

1969- President Richard Nixon combined the twin holidays of Lincoln’s Birthday Feb. 12th and Washington’s Birthday Feb.22nd into one three day weekend and called it President’s Day. So instead of two days off in February you have one, with no emotional meaning to it. Nixon does it to us again!

1984- Touchstone Pictures created so the Walt Disney Company could do more adult movies. Their first film was Splash, starring a tastefully topless Darryl Hannah.

1989- The last Soviet troops leave Afghanistan.

1994- After months of insane bidding, Viacom’s Sumner Redstone beat out QVC’s Barry Diller to buy Paramount Pictures. The cost is $20 billion, although the studio’s net worth was estimated at $8 billion. When asked, Diller replied: “What’s done is done. Next.”

2002- Scientists announce the first discovery of fossilized Dinosaur vomit.

2003- Millions of protesters march in cities from Hollywood to Kiev to Capetown to protest US plans to attack Iraq. Nearly a million people marched in London alone.
The U.S. invaded anyway.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What place had the words written over it’s entrance: Abandon All Hope, All Ye Who Enter…”?

Answer : The Gate of Hell in Dante’s Inferno.


February 14th, 2008 Saturday
February 14th, 2009

Quiz: What place had the words written over it’s entrance: Abandon All Hope, All Ye Who Enter…”?

Answer to yesterdays question below: The comic strip The Thimble Theatre produced characters like Harald Hamgravy, Geezil and Alice the Goon. What was it’s most famous denizen?
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History for 2/14/2009
Birthdays: Joshua Norton aka Joshua Ist Emperor of the United States 1819, Jack Benny- real name Benjamin Koubeilsky, Frederick Douglas, Christopher Latham Scholes- inventor of the typewriter, George Washington Ferris inventor of the Ferris Wheel, Pier Francesco Cavalli, Jimmy Hoffa, Vic Morrow, Skeezix Wallet (character in Gasoline Alley comic strip), Gregory Hines, Ignaz Friedman, Thelma Ritter, Carl Andersen, Hugh Downs, Jim Kelly, Florence Henderson, Meg Tilly, Alan Parker, Margaret Knight the inventor of the flat bottom paper bag in use in supermarkets today.

Happy Valentines Day!

This holiday was originally the Roman fertility festival LUPERCALIA, when the young men of Rome wearing olive oil and not much else, would run through the streets waving oak branches over the heads of young girls to inspire fertility. Then they would all go to the orgy.
Keeping with the custom of the early Church to sanctify pagan holidays with saints days-. Pope Gelasius Ist decided to rename the holiday for St.Valentine, who was martyred by Emperor Claudius II Gothicus in 295 A.D.. The olive oil and the orgy was out, but tradition has it that Valentine in prison kept communicating with his flock by writing little notes and tossing them through the bars.. These notes or "Valentines" fused with the romance notion of the old Roman party and became a custom for lovers as early as the 14th century.

Today in the Orthodox calendar is the Feast of Saint’s Cyril and Methodius, the “Apostles to the Slavs”, who created the Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet out of Greek and Hebrew characters.

1779- Captain James Cook was killed and eaten by angry Hawaiian natives after an argument over hostages. Despite heavy attack, the shore party rallied and fought their way back to the longboats thanks to their second in command, ensign William Bligh, the future Captain Bligh of the Bounty.

1848- President James Knox Polk is the first president to sit for a photograph. The daguerreotype was taken by a young Matthew Brady.

1876- THE TELEPHONE- One of the strangest coincidences in technology history was that two men invented the same device at almost the same moment. Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell in Boston and Elijah Gray in Chicago were both working on a device to transmit human voices instantaneously over wires. Each knew of the others work and labored furiously to be the first. When Bell was able to get a weak sound of his voice over the wire his sponsor and future father in law Robert Hubbard wanted to file the patent. But Bell procrastinated until he felt it was perfect. Exasperated, Hubbard took the schematics and went to the office to file the patent himself. What he found out later, was he filed the patent barely two hours ahead of Gray in Chicago! Gray tried to challenge the patent. US courts decided that since Grays attorney had filed a “caveat” to a patent- which meant I’m working on an idea” while Hubbard & Bell filed a patent “I’ve invented the idea”, they awarded the patent to Bell. Elijah Gray still went on to invent more things, founded the Western Electric Company and grew very rich. But Alexander Graham Bell got the credit as inventor of the telephone.

1884- 25 year old Teddy Roosevelt was an up and coming member of the New York State legislature. On this day he received a double shock - both his mother and young wife died on the same day. Shattered, he abandoned his political career and fled to the Badlands of North Dakota to be a rancher and deputy sheriff. He said the landscape was so bleak it "looked like the personification of a poem by Edgar Alan Poe."

1886- Los Angeles began to export its first trainload of oranges back east.

1887- Several leading French intellectuals including Guy DeMauppasant, Balzac and Charles Gounod publish a letter to the President of the Republic begging him not to build the Eiffel Tower.-" A Useless Monstrosity, which even America with it's crazed passion for commerce has the sense to reject! And what if it lasts twenty years ?" There were plans to pull down the tower 1907 but by then it had new use as a wireless radio antenna.

1907- Golden Books incorporated. One of their artists was Gustav Tennegren, who would become the stylist of Walt Disney's Pinnochio.

1919-THE SPARTACISTS- The government offices in Berlin are seized by Communists. Inspired by the Revolution in Russia they try to declare the Soviet Republic of Germany. They called themselves Spartacists after Spartacus the leader of the slave rebellion against ancient Rome. Right-wing paramilitary private militias called frei-korps led by former Imperial officers entered the city and battle the Bolsheviks for control of the streets. One of the reasons why businessmen in the west were later so cozy with Hitler was their relief that Germany didn’t turn into another Soviet Union.

1920- The League of Women Voters formed.

1927-Alfred Hitchcock’s first suspense film “The Lodger” opened in London.

1929- Dr. Fleming discovered penicillin,

1929- the ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE- Scarface Al Capone's gang dressed as Chicago police round up a bunch of Bugs Moran's hoods at the S.M.C. Cartage Company garage at 2122 North Clark Street and blow them away with tommy guns. Dr Reinhardt Schwimmer, one of the men killed, wasn’t even a mobster but an optometrist who liked to hang out with gangsters to experience life on the edge. The seven men had 200 bullets in them. They even shot their dog. When Moran was asked who he thought had done it, he replied: ”Only Capone kills like that.” Big Al himself was in Key Biscayne Florida having lunch with the Dade County District Attorney. One of the triggermen was Machine-gun Jack McGurn, but when questioned by police his girlfriend testified he had been in bed with her all that day. Newspapers called her his 'Blonde-Alibi". McGurn was bumped off later that year. At the massacre site amazingly one gangster- Joe Duesenberg- lived long enough for police to question. But to the end he wouldn't spill the beans. When asked who shot him full of bullets, he replied:" Nobody!" and died.

1931- Tod Browning's film of the play Dracula, starring Hungarian actor's union organizer and recreational morphine addict Bela Lugosi, premiered.

1946-Enniac, the first all electronic circuited computer, started up at the university of Pennsylvania.

1962- First Lady Jackie Kennedy gave a tour to network television cameras of the private living quarters of the White House. It’s the first time most Americans had ever seen the inside of the Executive Mansion.

1967- Former kinky pinup model Betty Page married Harry Lear.

1968- Part of the Vietnamese Tet Offensive was the Communists overrunning the old Imperial Capitol of Hue. This day US Marines finally recaptured the cities Imperial citadel after weeks of bitter house to house fighting. The Communist command center was set up in a throne room called the Place of Perpetual Peace.

1979- Digital music composer Walter Carlos, who scored the film A Clockwork Orange, announced he had undergone a sex change and was now Wendy Carlos.

1991-Meg Ryan married Dennis Quaid.
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Yesterdays Question: The comic strip The Thimble Theatre produced characters like Harald Hamgravy, Geezil and Alice the Goon. What was it’s most famous denizen?

Answer : Popeye.


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