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January 2, 2015 fri
January 2nd, 2015

Quiz: What does it mean to be perspicacious?

Yesterday: Name a major event that occurred in 1915.
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History for 1/2/2015
Birthdays: Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV-1642, Frederic Opper the cartoonist of Happy Hooligan, Phillip Freneau, Roger Miller, Issac Asimov, Julius LaRosa, Tito Schipa, Renata Tebaldi, Tex Ritter, Dick Huemer, Cuba Gooding Jr, is 47, Tia Carrere, Kate Bosworth is 32

1492- Sultan Abu-Abdallah called Boabdil surrendered the Emirate of Grenada, the last stronghold of the Moslem Moors in Spain to Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. Boabdil's mother, the Sultana Ayeesha, scolded him for weeping while surrendering the keys of the city. " I should have smothered you as an infant, rather than watch you live like a degenerate and surrender like a whore...!" Gee, Thanks Mom…

As Boabdil rode out of the city between the Spanish troops, he paused on a hill for one last look at his beautiful city. The hill is today called El Ultimo Sospiro del Moro- the Last Sigh of the Moor.

This completed the master plan of the Christian Spaniards to regain the whole Iberian peninsula. Called La ReConquista, it had been raging for 500 years. In Rome Pope Alexander VI Borgia, who was also a Spaniard, celebrated the news by closing off Saint Peter's Square from worshippers to stage a bullfight.

1496- Did Leonardo da Vinci try to fly? Leonardo studied the motor actions of birds and sketched numerous flying machines. In one of his notebooks Leonardo had written:” On the second day of January, I will make the attempt.” When one of his apprentices named Antonio broke his leg it was said he broke it trying to pilot one of his masters flying machines.

1522- Adrian VI, a Dutchman was elected Pope. He was the first non Italian since 1378 and the last non-Italian until John Paul II in 1978. He really tried to be a true Christian spiritual guide and agreed with Martin Luther that the church was too corrupt and sinful in it’s ways. He demanded he and his cardinals live on only one ducat a day, about $12.50, he walled up the Belvedere Palace and it’s collection of ancient Greek and Roman art as pagan idolatry.

Poets and artists were furious that this Pope cancelled all their rich contracts. The unemployed poet Aretino called the cardinals “miserable rabble” and that they should all be buried alive for electing this lousy pope. After three months Adrian died. This time the cardinals elected a Medici Pope who loved art, music and parties. The people of Rome sent flowers to Adrian’s doctor to congratulate him for losing his patient.

1542- The town of Geneva had put themselves under the Protestant theologian John Calvin to reform everybody’s lifestyles. His first move was to create order in their new way of religion. This day his great work the Ecclesiastical Ordinances were approved by the Grand Council and put into law. It created a ministry of deacons, pastors teachers and lay elders based on Biblical Law. Calvin’s new code became the basis of the future churches of Presbyterianism, Huguenots, Puritans and Calvinism and reached as far as England, Scotland and America.

1611-THE BLOOD COUNTESS- Beautiful Transylvanian Countess Elizabeth Bathory was indicted for the murder of 610 people. She apparently believed that bathing in the blood of virgin girls would keep her skin beautiful- remember Oil of Olay wasn’t invented yet. The crimes of the Medieval nobility were often winked at until like Count Giles de Rais-Bluebeard in France they become so outrageous they couldn’t be ignored any longer. When peasant girls kept disappearing around Csejthe Castle word got back to her big uncle King Sigmund Bathory of Poland, the nemesis of Ivan the Terrible. When King Sigmund discovered the full horror of her story he had Elizabeth walled up alive in her chamber. Daily food passed through a slit in the wall. When after a few years the empty dishes stopped being passed through that slit was bricked up as well.

1688- The great insurance house Lloyd’s of London founded. In the past they’ve insured Betty Grable’s legs, Bruce Springsteen’s lungs and offered a million English pounds to anyone who could prove Elvis Presley was still alive.

1757- British redcoats march into Calcutta.

1785- Austrian Emperor Joseph II ordered the Jews throughout his empire to adopt family surnames. A similar law was passed in the rest of Germany ten years later. Most Jews created surnames out of their profession. This was when someone like Ystchak the diamond dealer became Issac Diamondstein and Jakob the butcher became Jacob Fleischman.

1788- Georgia voted to ratify the Constitution.

1800- The free black community in Philadelphia petitioned Congress to abolish slavery. A South Carolina senator denounced the act as:” This new-fangled French philosophy of Liberty and Equality!”

1815- Lord Byron married Lady Anna Milbanke.

1837- It was the custom at New Years for the Mayor of New York to hold an open house. Average citizens could pay a call, have a glass of sherry and pound cake and express good wishes for the New Year. But Mayor Cornelius Lawrence was a Tammany politician who had been elected with the help of hooligans from the Bowery and Five Points. When he held an open house this day all these gang toughs stormed in, got drunk, wiped their fingers on the curtains and pocketed the silverware. It quickly became bedlam. In desperation Mayor Lawrence got militia troops to push the mob out and lock the doors.

1843- Richard Wagner’s opera The Flying Dutchman premiered in Dresden.

1863 –HELL’S HALF-ACRE- In the American Civil War the battle of Stones River or Mufreesboro resumed after a two days truce for New Years. The Union Army had been surprised attacked New Years Eve and caved in to a tight horseshoe configuration. By now it was now dug in and further fighting seemed fruitless. But Confederate army Commander Baxton Bragg couldn’t bring himself to retreat again as he had at Perryville.

So over the protests of his subordinates that it was suicide, he ordered a direct frontal attack . One brigade commander named Hanson declared he’d rather kill Bragg than murder his own soldiers. Hanson was killed in action. The Kentucky Orphans Brigade led by Confederate Vice President John Breckinbridge charged into a furious Yankee artillery cross fire and was annihilated. The attack failed and Bragg retreated anyway .

1873- Richard Connolly becomes the first American to embezzle a million dollars -he actually embezzled four million. He was the financial controller for the City of New York under Boss Tweed. Together the Tweed ring bilked New York City out of $60 million dollars. Today he fled abroad ahead of the police. Tweed was nabbed and died in jail but Slippery Dick Connolly lived in Europe happily ever after.

1878- Farmer John Martin thought he saw something shiny flying in the sky above Denizen Texas. He is the first person to describe it as a “flying saucer.”

1882- John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil company controlled almost 90% of the U.S. crude oil output but the government seemed poised to hit it with anti-monopoly laws. So anticipating this move he reorganized Standard Oil into a Trust with himself as chief Trustee. Standard Oil later became ESSO (S-O) then EXXON.

1897- Young writer Stephen Crane survived a shipwreck when the good ship SS Commodore went down off the coast of Florida. He went on to write The Open Boat and The Red Badge of Courage.

1904- The Russians surrender their big Pacific base of Port Arthur to the Japanese after a one year siege. During the boredom of the siege the game Russian Roulette was invented- of putting a six shooter to your head with one bullet in a spun chamber. When their men kept dying for no reason the Stavka-High Command were at a loss how to stop it. When they caught men playing this lethal game they arrested them for illegal use of government property- i.e. the bullets.

1909- Aimie Semple MacPherson was given her ordination by the Evangelical community of Chicago. Sister Aimie moved to Los Angeles and became one of the first great broadcast evangelists, entertaining millions with salvation and sin, while keeping toy-boys and popping pills on the side.

1937- Hollywood actor Ross Alexander had hit on tough times. He had been in a few movies like Captain Blood and A Midsummer Night’s Dream but his career seemed to be stalled and he was deeply in debt. This day the 29 year old went into the barn behind his Valley ranch home and shot himself. The Warner Bros. Studio looked around for a replacement to refill their roster of male leads. They replaced Alexander with an Illinois college sportscaster named “Dutch”- Ronald Reagan.

1939- Time Magazine named Adolf Hitler it’s “Man of the Year”.

1942- The Japanese army under General Homma entered Manila. They said they had come to drive out the American colonialists and create pan-Asian harmony. But they offended the Philippines with atrocities like hanging the Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court from a flagpole when he refused to be part of the occupation regime. Homma also had the city bombed, even after they agreed to surrender.

1958- Maria Callas threw one of the more celebrated temper tantrums in Opera history when she stormed off the stage at La Scala in the middle of Bellini’s Norma with the President of Italy in the audience. La Divina Callas was a Greek-American with a beautiful voice and the slimmest waistline since Lili Pons. She was part of the Jet-Set society culture and her temper was famous.

1960- Young Mass. Senator John F. Kennedy announced he was a candidate for president. When asked why do you want to be president? Kennedy replied:” Because it’s the best job there is.”

1971- Israeli archaeologists in Jerusalem discovered the 2000 year old remains of a crucified man. No, they didn’t think it was You-Know-Who. But it did provide the first physical proof that Romans really used that method of execution.

1975- In a letter to MITS, the makers of the Altair personal computer, Bill Gates and Paul Allen offer their computer language BASIC. They call themselves and their new company Micro-Soft.

1984- The Zenith Corporation announced it would stop selling video recorders in Betamax format and go over wholly to VHS. Other electronics giants followed suit and VHS won out over the higher quality Beta system.

1995- Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was inaugurated for a second term after winning re-election, despite his conviction of smoking crack cocaine. Comedian Chris Rock said: “Who ran against him? Who was such a bad choice that people said- I’d rather vote for a crackhead? “

2000- Larry Saunders had a conversation with his friend Jimmy Wales about writing data entries for collaborative websites called wikis. Saunders conceived of an open on-line encyclopedia encompassing all knowledge. He called it Wikipedia.
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Yesterday’s Question: Name a major event that occurred in 1915.

Answer: The oceanliner Luisitania was torpedoed, The Armenian Genocide and D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation established the feature length narrative film.


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