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Jan 13, 2015
January 13th, 2015

Quiz: What is a carbuncle? A barnacle on a car?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What is a swami?
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HISTORY FOR 1/13/2015
Birthdays: Salmon P. Chase, Horatio Alger-1834, Sophie Tucker, Gwen Verdon, Robert Stack, Charles Nelson Reilly, Rip Taylor, Brandon Tartikoff, Julie Louise Dreyfus is 54, T.Bone Burnett is 67, Patrick Dempsey, Orlando Bloom is 38

565A.D. THE NIKA SEDITION- In ancient Byzantium like Rome before her, the big spectator sport was chariot racing. Fans went crazy, lots of money wagered and charioteers were celebrities. The choice seats at the Hippodrome and Circus Maximus were not at the finish lines but on the turns because that’s where the most crashes were. Chariots were raced in teams like modern race cars ( Team Unser, Team Ferrari etc.) and were distinguished by their colors. The big teams were the Blues and Greens. The Whites and the Reds were always kind of second rate. They even had their own booster clubs who carried the arguments over races into the streets and beat each other up.

On this day the hooliganism of the booster clubs got so out of hand that they rioted in the streets and burned down half of Constantinople. Emperor Justinian had to bring in the legions to restore order. The clubs were called in Latin FACTIOS from where we get the words "fan, factions and fanatic".

1687- Father Eusebio Kino began his missionary work in the Spanish Southwest. He founded several missions in Arizona and helped introduce the horse, pairs of whom were brought over from Spain and released around Santa Fe New Mexico to multiply in the wild. The Italian born Jesuit’s travels also proved that California was not an island as previously thought.

1733- James Oglethorpe reached Charleston South Carolina with a large contingent of colonists plucked from prisons back in England. His goal was to sail down to the Savannah River and create a new colony to stand as a buffer state between Spanish Florida and the English holdings. He called new colony after King George- Georgia.

1777- Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson signed a bill in the legislature banning sodomy. The penalty for conviction was castration.

1847- Gen. Andres Pico signed the capitulation of Campo de Cahuenga (the little park across from Universal studios today), surrendering the Mexican state of Alta-California to U.S. General John Fremont. Fremont, nicknamed "The Pathfinder" was the first Republican candidate for President in 1856 and when the Civil War began he was a General until the confederates made a fool of him and he dropped from public view. During the Civil War Andres Pico served in the Yankee force that defeated an attempted Confederate invasion of California. I guess he figured one change of flag in a lifetime was enough.

1849- Battle of Chillianwalah. The British army under Lord Hugh Gough defeated the Sikh army of Sher Singh and conquered the Punjab. Gough was a blunt old style soldier. When his second mentioned the army was almost out of cannonballs Gough responded:” Good! Then we shall be at them with the bayonet!” This was the first battle where common soldiers’ bravery was “mentioned in dispatches” by the commander. At one point a befuddled major issued the wrong orders to a key troop of cavalry who would have galloped away from the battle but they were rallied by their chaplain. For his bravery, Lord Gough recommended the chaplain be raised to Brevet-Bishop.

1854- The modern Accordion is patented by Anthony Faas. Polka fans rejoice!

1864-Stephen Foster, the composer of "Old Kentucky Home" and "Camptown Races" was found dead, a penniless drunk in New York's Bowery slum. In his hands was a piece of paper with the words "Dear friends and gentle hearts... ". A Pennsylvania Yankee, despite writing a lot of music about the South, he only visited it once, to New Orleans in 1852.

1872- GRANDDUKE ALEXIS BUFFALO HUNT. Grand Duke Alexis the son of the Czar of Russia visited America. A sportsman, He expressed a desire to go out West and hunt buffalo. The US Government ordered General Custer and Buffalo Bill to afford him every courtesy. Buffalo Bill even talked Sioux Chief Spotted Tail to move his tribes winter encampment 100 miles south so Alexis could see real wild Indians. Starting today the hunting party hunted and feasted for two weeks leaving behind a trail of champagne bottles and buffalo carcasses. The trip was a great success and Buffalo Bill realized there was big money to be made in showing city slickers and foreigners a taste of the Wild West…

1874- Chang and Eng Bunker were the original Siamese Twins joined at the chest and sharing one liver. Since leaving Thailand they traveled the world with P.T. Barnum showing off their unique physique to paying crowds. They married two women and produced 21 offspring. As they aged they made a deal that they wouldn’t be physically separated until one of them died. This day Chang awoke to discover his brother Eng had died. He frantically called for the doctor to come and separate them. But the doctor was late, and when he arrived Chang had died as well. They were 62.

1895- Oscar Wilde’s play The Ideal Husband, premiered in London.

1898- Under the banner headline "J'Accuse !" a Paris newspaper printed writer Emile Zola's stinging criticism of the French government's handling of the Dreyfus scandal, blowing the whole thing wide open. The army sued Zola for libel, and he went into exile to avoid imprisonment. He returned to France after Dreyfus was pardoned one year later.

1906- The first ad for a radio appeared in an American Science Magazine. It boasted an effective range of over one mile !

1910- Dr. Lee Deforest experimenting with his new radio vacuum tubes broadcast singers from New York's Metropolitan Opera for the first time. The regular Texaco 'Live from the Met' broadcasts wouldn't get going until 1934.

1914- Folksinging union organizer Joe Hill was arrested in Utah on trumped up murder charges.

1925- THE FIRST CALIFORNIA GURU- Indian spiritual teacher Abrahamansa Yogananda , then called “The Swami” settled in Los Angeles and gave his first lecture to an audience in LA Philharmonic Hall. He founded the Malibu Self-Realization Center in 1950. It featured one shovel-full of ashes from the funeral pyre of Mahatma Gandhi.

1929- Wyatt Earp died at 82 of prostate cancer in Los Angeles. After careers as a gunfighter, buffalo hunter, Dodge City marshal, prizefight referee, Yukon gold prospector and faroe dealer he finished in L.A. speculating in real estate. He liked to stroll onto Hollywood western movie sets to give advice to Tom Mix and William S. Hart on how they did it in the Old West. He was buried in San Francisco's Jewish Cemetery because his third wife, ex-saloongirl Sadie Marcus was of that faith. On the subject of the Gunfight of the OK Corral in 1881 he told so many different versions of what happened that his account is considered unreliable. But no one denied that in all his gunfights he was never even scratched.
Wyatt Earp would have died totally forgotten but in his last years he was interviewed by a journalist named Stuart Lake who published a best selling biography in 1931 called Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal. After that the movies and TV took up his name to make him the most famous lawman in western history, which would have been a surprise to him.

1930- The Mickey Mouse comic strip first appeared in US newspapers. Walt Disney himself wrote them, Ub Iwerks penciled and Winn Smith inked.

1942- In the late evening the German U-Boat U-123 sailed into New York Harbor. The German captain was amazed that although they were at war, the Americans had made no defensive arrangements. The city wasn’t even blacked out, but still illuminated brightly.

1943- Movie starlet Frances Farmer was dragged screaming in a straightjacket out of a Hollywood Hotel and committed. She screamed Rats! Rats! and listed her occupation on her arrest record as “c**ksucker”. Her career was ruined and she spent years in asylums. But it’s inconclusive whether she had actually suffered mental illness or it was her mother overreacting to her sullen, temperamental nature.

1945- Sergei Prokoviev’s 5th Symphony ( Classical) premiered in Moscow.

1946- In his comic strip, Dick Tracy first uses his two-way wrist radio.

1953-" The Doctor's Plot"- Elderly Soviet dictator Josef Stalin decided to launch a new purge and shoot and imprison thousands of people. He announced he had uncovered a conspiracy of counter revolutionists and spies to bribe doctors to poison top Soviet officials. Luckily Stalin died before he could kick off his new terror campaign. As he lay stricken with a stroke on his deathbed, his doctor was too afraid to treat him.

1957-THE FRISBEE went into production today. Two World War II fighter pilots who were POWs in Stalag 13, Warren Fransconi and Walter Morrison, invented the plastic platter in a San Luis Obisbo home. Originally called Flying Saucers and Pluto’s Platters, they got the name Frisbee when they demonstrated it at Yale University. The students there were used to flipping pie platters at each other from the local Frisbee Pie Company, so when they played with the new disc they cried “Frisbee, Frisbee!” which seemed to Warren & Walter a better name.
When Walt Morrison died in 2002, his family obeyed his last request, to have his body cremated, his ashes mixed with plastic, and molded into a Frisbee.

1958- Actress Jayne Mansfield married weightlifter Mickey Hargitay. Their daughter was Marisa Hargitay

1979- The Young Men’s Christian Association filed a lawsuit against the gay rock group the Village People over their hit song “YMCA”.

1979 Russian animator Yuri Nortstein’s masterpiece Tale of Tales premiered.

1985- Carol Wayne, an actress who played bimbo blonde roles on shows like Johnny Carson, drowned while swimming in Mexico. She was 41.

2002- Pres. George W. Bush almost choked to death on a pretzel, while alone watching football on TV.

2011- The huge Italian luxury cruise liner Casta Concordia ran aground on rocks off the coast of Umbria and capsized, killing 200. The captain of the ship was not present when the ship was in crisis because he was in his cabin with a hot Venezuelan woman he was chasing. After the crash he left his sinking ship early and was seen in town when everyone else was still trying to rescue survivors. He was arrested.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What is a swami?

Answer: Swami is Hindi for a teacher. The first Indian guru to popularize meditation in California was called The Swami. See above, 1925.


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