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January 9th, 2011 sun
January 9th, 2011

QUIZ: What opera includes a triumphant chorus about the Wells Fargo Stage Coach?

Yesterdays’ question answer below: Who was the first artist to sign his work?
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History for 1/9/2011
Birthdays: Woody Guthrie, Richard Nixon, Ray Bolger, Roy Disney Jr., William Powell, George Balanchine, Judith Krantz, Bob Denver, Crystal Gayle, Joan Baez, Simone de Beauvoir, Sir Rudolph Bing, Herbert Lom, Gypsy Rose Lee, Joely Richardson

Festival of Janus, the namesake of January, Roman God of gateways and doors, not to be confused of course with Terminus, God of borders and terminal points, Lemintinus the God of Threshholds and stoops. Cardea the Goddess of hinges, or Forculus the God of the door leaves and sectioned doors.

1349- The Jews of Basel Switzerland were locked up in a warehouse and burned to death. Their neighbors thought they caused the Black Plague.

1570- Ivan the Terrible, just getting the suspicion that the city of Novgorod may be plotting treason, surrounded the city and massacred 20,000 people. Afterwards he tells the survivors: " Forget your wrongs."

1768- Former English cavalry sergeant Phillip Astley combined trick riding in a tight circular ring with a clown and some jugglers and took it all on the road. The first traveling Circus.

1769- Gaspar De Portola and Fra Junipero Serra set sail from Mexico to colonize California. The California coastline had been explored by Juan De Cabrillo, Francis Drake and others 250 years earlier. But since there were no gold-encrusted Aztec-type cities to plunder it was quickly forgotten. Conquistadors don’t surf. The King in Madrid was finally moved to order the colonization of California to limit the encroachments of Russian fur traders, and English claims to Oregon territory.

1793- Aeronaut Jean Pierre Blanchard and his dog flew by hot air balloon from Philadelphia to Woodbury New Jersey. President George Washington was a spectator.

1806- In London this day was the great funeral of Admiral Horatio Nelson, killed at the moment of victory in the Battle of Trafalgar. He was interred under the center of Saint Pauls Cathedral in a tomb built for Henry VIII's chancellor Cardinal Woolsey. Woolsey fell from royal favor before he ever got a chance to use it. The huge stone coffin stayed around in storage until a suitable hero popped up. An early example of recycling.

1825-Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams have dinner. The presidential election was deadlocked between Adams and Andrew Jackson with Clay a distant third. Andrew Jackson had won the popular votes, but the electoral votes were tied. Over sherry Henry Clay offered all his electoral votes to Adams in exchange for the job of Secretary of State. So John Quincy Adams won the presidency with the electoral votes of states like Kentucky where not one soul had voted for him. People were furious over King Caucus and called it the stolen election. In the next election cycle Andy Jackson won easily and began major reform of the electoral system.

1847- THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES-after a small battle near San Gabriel Mission, Commodore Richard Stockton and the U.S. cavalry retake Los Angeles and end resistance by the native Mexican population 'the Californios' to U.S. rule. The Californios had driven out the Yankee occupiers three times before.

1847- First U.S. governor of New Mexico territory Charles Bent is murdered and scalped by angry Indians after the U. S. conquering army had moved on. His trading post- Bent’s Fort , still stands today.

1857- The Fort Tejon earthquake shook Los Angeles This was the last major quake in Southern Cal of the great San Andreas Fault, an estimated 8.0 !

1860- The Star of the West, a ship sent to re-supply Union held Fort Sumter sitting out in Charleston Harbor, was fired on by South Carolina shore batteries on Morris Island and forced to turn around. These are the first hostile shots fired between North & South. But the incident was not enough to trigger the U.S. Civil War.

1914 -John Randolph Bray takes out patents on the principles of film animation: cycles, arcs, keys and inbetweens. He even tried to sue Winsor McCay, who had already been using them for years.

1924- The breakfast cereal Wheaties invented.

1936- Actor John Gilbert died of a heart attack after years of alcohol abuse. The accepted reason was he was a has-been silent film star who's voice was too thin and squeaky for talking pictures. Actually his voice wasn't too bad, some of it may of had to do with his punching Louis B. Mayer in the mouth when Mayer made a crude remark about Gilbert's sexual relations with Greta Garbo -something like "Why marry her when you're getting it anyway ?.."-BOP! . Mayer got up and screamed: "I'll ruin you if it costs me millions!"
Gilbert's fading popularity and decline into alcohol as his second wife Virginia Bruce’s film career blossomed was the inspiration for "A Star is Born".

1939- Top Looney Tunes director Frank Tashlin was hired by Walt Disney. He quit after two fruitless years, and left so angry he wrote a children’s book called the "Bear that Wasn’t" about his experiences. An early vice president of the Cartoonists Guild, he also joined the Mouse House to help unionize the studio. After a stint at Screen Gems, in 1945 Frank Tashlin went to Paramount’s live action division and became the director of the Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis comedies.

1959- The TV series Rawhide debuted, starring a young cowpoke named Clint Eastwood. President Lyndon Johnson and Ladybird were big Rawhide fans.

1968- THE BATTLE OF QUE SANH- Que Sanh was a U.S. Marine firebase at the western tip of the Vietnamese DeMilitarized Zone. It was so placed to interdict the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This day Firebase Que Sanh was surrounded and attacked by huge North Vietnamese forces. General William Westmorland growled to his corps commanders "This will NOT be the American Dien Bien Phu !" Dien Bien Phu was the 1954 siege that defeated the French. The Battle of Que Sanh lasted until April with the Marines fighting off huge human wave attacks.
The U.S. media at the time portrayed Que Sanh as an epic showdown in the tradition of Gettysburg or Guadalcanal, but to the Vietnamese General Ngyun Vo Giap, it was a feint to the real offensive when the Tet Lunar New Year holiday began....

1972- In a rare press conference by telephone from the Bahamas, reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes declared the biography done of him by Clifford Irving was a total fabrication.

1976- First day of shooting in Philadelphia of the movie Rocky. It was the first movie to utilize the Steadicam, a system that balanced hand-held camera shots.

1987- THE OCTOBER SURPRISE- The Ronald Reagan White House released a memorandum from 1980 proving the sales of weapons to Iran did bring about the release of the American Embassy hostages. Ronald Reagan had declared there was no ransom paid. His media spinners encouraged the idea that all the Old Gipper had to do was show up in the White House for the mad mullahs to release our people and hightail it outta’ town! Now the truth was out that Reagan lied, but it was too late, and not enough of a sound bite for a dazed & confused public.

2008- After his surprise win in the New Hampshire Primary, Barack Obama electrified the country with his speech :” Yes We Can.”

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Yesterday’s Question: Who was the first artist to sign his work?

Answer: A 12th Century medieval sculptor named Ghiselbertus, or Gilbert of Autun, put on his work Ghiselbertus Hoc Fecit, Latin for Ghiselbertus made this. Of course, you can also point to the Ice Age caverns like Lausanne, where next to painted images of animals a stone age artist placed his hand on the wall and traced around it with chalk. Historian Jacob Bronowski called that the first signature.


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