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January 1, 2015 New Years Day
January 1st, 2015

Quiz: Name a major event that occurred in 1915.

Yesterday’s Quiz question answered below: America was the first autonomous republic in the Americas. What was the second?
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History for January 1st, 2015

Birthdays: Lorenzo De Medici” the Magnificent”, Pope Alexander VI Borgia, Paul Revere, Betsy Ross, Mad Anthony Wayne, E.M. Forrester, J. Edgar Hoover, Alfred Steiglitz, Xavier Cugat, Frank Langella is 76, Barry Goldwater, Kuniyoshi Utagawa, Dana Andrews, Idi Amin, Kliban, Verne Troyer (Mini-Me)

Welcome to the month January from JANUARIUS, 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.

Happy Last Day of Kwanza.

45 BC. AVE ANNO NOVUM! The Roman Empire adopted the 12 month 366 day calendar 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 old system had become so lopsided that the Roman civil service had 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, Julius Caesar decreed the last year of the old system 46 BC 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 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 Messiah. But by now everyone knew 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 shot in the leg. 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.

1850- The TaiPing Rebellion began in China. Hung tsu Tsuan listened to a Christian Missionary. Later he decided he was the son of Jesus Christ come to Earth to right all wrongs. He led millions until he was crushed by the Manchu Emperor’s army.

1863- Poet Walt Whitman visited Washington D.C., but passed on 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 running for a second term. So there would be plenty occasions to meet him....

1875- The Molly Maguires, a fraternal union of Irish immigrant coal miners in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, go on strike after their employer cuts their wages by twenty percent. The employer had many shot and hanged.

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. Ko-DAK!

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- Vladimir Zworkin patented the Iconoscope ( the eye of a TV camera ) and Kinescope. The television process evolved over so many years -there were experimental TV 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 into one force under Charles 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. The driver said he was just sleeping and drove on. He was. Williams last song was “I’ll Never get out of this World Alive.”

1959- As Fidel Castro’s cigar smoking guerrillas entered Havana, Cubans celebrate the fall of dictator Fulgensio Batista. Fidel is proclaimed the leader of Cuba.

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.

1998- Michael Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy was killed in Aspen Colorado during a freak skiing accident. He was playing ski-football and while handling a video camera he struck a tree at full speed.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: America was the first autonomous republic in the Americas. What was the second?

Answer: Haiti, see above 1801.


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