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Dave Master just told me cool news about our friend John Ramirez.

Just in case you watch the Rose Parade on TV on New Year's day, I thought you might enjoy learning that one of the float designers is an animation person- John Ramirez. John was one of Dave Master's students, he did great design work for Disney and Warner Bros on The Iron Giant, Osmosis Jones, Looney Tunes Back in Action and a bunch of other projects.

Check out the link to an article regarding one of John's designs for this year's parade. John designed two additional floats for this year's Rose Parade. He has designed one for a clothing design company and another for a fast food chain. Last year John designed the LA Dodger's float and the float sponsored by the Chinese Olympics. The year before, John designed the elaborate "Star Wars" float for Lucasfilm.

Congrats John!!

Question: When George Washington entertained at Christmas, he was particularly proud of sharing something with his guests. What was it?

Yesterday’s question answered below: Why do we call the salutation before drinking together, a toast?
History for 12/27/2008
Birthdays: Johannes Kepler, Linwood Dunn, Marlene Dietrich, Louis Pasteur, Oscar Levant, Sidney Greenstreet, Anna Russell, William Masters of Masters & Johnson, Leslie Maguire, John Amos, Tovah Feldshuh, Heather O’Rourke, Bollywood star Salman Khan is 43, Gerard Depardieu is 60

1820- John Quincy Adams wrote a friend that he was sad that Washington DC didn’t have any good monuments. It could use one to George Washington and a cathedral like Westminster Abbey. If John Q. could only see DC today, it’s a rock garden of statuary, including one to the inventor of the screw propeller.

1831- Charles Darwin sets sail for the Pacific on board the HMS Beagle. The observations he made of exotic species while on this voyage formed the basis of his theories on evolution and natural selection.

1871- The world’s first cat show opened at the Crystal Palace in London.

1887- Beginning of the Sherlock Holmes adventure the Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.

1900- Temperance crusader Carrie Nation staged her first public axe attack on a saloon, the bar at the Carey Hotel in Witchita, Kansas. She shattered a large mirror behind the bar and threw rocks at a titillating picture of Cleopatra nude bathing. She called her actions not vandalism, but “hatchetation”.

1903- The Barbershop Quartet favorite “Sweet Adeline” sung for the first time. It was written in praise of opera star Adelina Patti.

1904-PETER PAN, a play by James Barrie, opened at the Duke of York Theatre in London. Barrie reserved seats in the opening night performance for orphaned children who laughed and cheered all night. Peter llewlyn Davies, the little boy Barrie befriended who was the basis for Pan used to say:” I am not Peter Pan. Mr Barrie is.”, He committed suicide in 1960 when he was 75. James Barrie once said to H.G.Wells:” It’s all right and good to write books, but can you wiggle your ears?”

1927- Broadway musical "ShowBoat" debuts at the Ziegfeld theater. Based on a story by Edna Ferber the music was written by Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein. The play made a star out of a tall black baritone named Paul Robeson.” Ol’ Man River..”

1934- The Shah declared the nation of Persia would now be known as Iran.

1935- Radio City Music Hall opened. The Art Deco masterpiece was for many years the largest indoor theater in the world, seating over 6,000. Cole Porter sang” They all laughed at Rockefeller Center, now they clamor to get in…..”

1940- Al Jolson and Ruby Keeler announced their separation.

1942-THE SMOLENSK COMMITTEES- The Nazis begin a recruiting campaign in the vast camps of Russian POWs to set up an Anti-Communist Russian Army. They had already had good results the previous April recruiting among the Soviet hating nationalist Cossack groups of the Don, Tartar, Kuban and the Ukraine. These men hated Stalin worse than Hitler so they signed up. Anti-Communist Russian armies eventually numbered as high as 100,00 men under their generals Vlasov, Komorov and Bach-Zelewski. After the war they tried to surrender to the Americans but by secret agreement they were all repatriated to Russia. Most were executed or died in Siberian labor camps.

1943- The movie The Song of Bernadette premiered.

1945- Eleven nations sign the Bretton Woods agreement creating the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

1947- The "Howdy-Doody" show debuts on NBC. Buffalo Bob, Howdy and Clarabell the Clown, also known as the Puppet Playhouse.

1951- The Crosley car goes into service for the post office in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is a little jeep with the steering wheel on the right side so the mail deliverer didn’t have to get out of his vehicle to reach every curbside mailbox.

1954- The" Disneyland" television show premieres. Up until then the major Hollywood Studios were all boycotting the new upstart medium of television, then mostly done in New York by blacklisted stage actors and writers. Walt Disney is the first to break ranks with the major film studios and get into television production and even films the show in Technicolor, figuring television will develop color broadcasting eventually.

1968- Apollo 8 landed safely on Earth after being the first ship to reach the Moon and come back. The brought back spectacular photos of the Earth from space. When orbiting the Moon on Christmas Eve astronaut Frank Borman sent a message back to Earth reading from the first book of Genesis. One of the three astronauts was also the first to barf in deep space, but they aren’t saying which.

2007- Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Pakistan. She had been leading the opposition to the government of General Pervhez Musharraf.
Yesterday’s question: Why is an oath or dedication upon drinking called a toast?

Answer: Anglo-Saxons brewed a hot ale at Christmas time called Wassel. Pieces of toast were floating in the bowl. You were invited to dip your ale horn in the brew and pick up a bit of toast, then “toast” by saying Vas-Heil, Wassel, or Hail to You!