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January 19, 2015 mon
January 19th, 2015

Quiz: Ford automobiles are named for Henry Ford. Chevrolet for Louis Chevrolet. Dodge for the Dodge Brothers. Who was Pontiac named for?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: Why is complicated, administrative paperwork called red tape?
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History for 1/19/2015
Birthdays: James Watt, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert E. Lee, Paul Cezanne', Janis Joplin, Tipi Hedren, Slobodan Milosovic’, radio star Ish Kabibble, Dolly Parton, Michael Crawford, Chic Young, Guy Madison, Richard Lester, John H. Johnson publisher of Ebony and Jet Magazines, Jean Stapleton, Fritz Weaver, Sean Wayans, Robin MacNeill, Paul Rodriquez, Antoine Fuqua, Drea Di Matteo is 43, and Bart the Bear-1977 Bear who starred in movies like Clan of the Cave Bear, The Bear, White Fang and Legends of the Fall.

Happy Martin Luther King Day, observed.

Happy Feast of St. Wulfstan.

379 A.D. Valentinian I was a Roman emperor with strange mood swings. He outlawed the original Biblical birth control method called exposure; in other words leaving unwanted babies in the forest. Another time he had some stableboys crucified for letting the hounds go too early during a hunt.
When some Barbarians crossed the Rhine and sacked a few villages Valentinian got his legions together and burned down half of Germany. He only stopped for the winter and was preparing to continue in the spring when on this day a delegation of tribal chiefs came to ask for peace. They explained that it wasn't their idea to make war, just some of the younger hotheads in the tribe. They said that the Emperor was overreacting.
Valentinian got so enraged by these excuses that he raised his fists, turned purple and before he uttered a word fell over stone dead. His general Theodosius took over as emperor.

1405- Tartar conqueror Tamerlane fell ill and died in Samarkand. He roved the world conquering and murdering like Genghis Khan, but without Genghis’ skill at empire building. His empire fell apart soon after his death, inspiring Shelley to write a poem about transitory glory- Ozimandias.

1523- In Switzerland, Ulrich Zwingli publishes his 67 Articles attacking the authority of the Pope. This is the first manifesto of the Zurich Reformation.

1547-Grand Duke of Muscovy Ivan IV Vasilievich, called Ivan the Terrible, crowned Tsar or Czar- a Russian form for Caesar. His father Grand Duke Ivan III the Great assumed the title and power but it remained for his son to formalize the office. The Russian Princes call themselves the new inheritors of the Eastern Orthodox religion and Roman Empire after Constantinople, once called New Rome, fell to the Moslem Turks. Czars were crowned with the "Cap of Monomachus", a small skullcap reputedly worn by one of the Greek Byzantine Emperors, Constantine IV Monomachus“ single-combat”. This cap was covered with ermine trim and gold. The Czars boasted: "Two Romes have fallen. The Third Rome –Moscow- shall stand forever!"

1633- Thomas Morton was twice deported by the Pilgrims for holding “licentious Maypole celebrations” at his Indian trading post. This day he returned to England and tried to have the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s charter revoked. The King probably refused because that might make the whole crowd of buckle-shoed killjoys return home!

1729- British Restoration playwright William Congreve died. He willed all his property to Henrietta, the Duchess of Marlborough. But then the Duchess did something a bit odd. She had a death mask made of Congreve’s face and attached it to a life size mannequin. She ate and conversed with the dummy all day and slept with it at night. She insisted her servants wait upon the dummy and treat it when she felt it was ill. When she died she was buried with the dummy.

1829 Johann Von Goethe published Faust Part 1.

1840- Explorer Lt. Charles Wilkes claimed all of Antarctica for the United States. He was on a scientific expedition to chart the South Seas and Southern polar waters. Captain Wilkes was really good at exploring, but he was such a tyrannical disciplinarian he was court-martialed upon his return. Wilkes’ erratic behavior may have been a model for Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab in his novel Moby Dick.

1853- Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore with the famous Anvil Chorus premiered in Rome.

1869- New York City controller of Central Park Andrew Green received a petition from 18 of the city’s wealthiest citizens. It called for the establishment of a Museum of Natural History. The famous building was built in 1874.

1915- Two German zeppelins cross the Channel and drop bombs on Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn causing two deaths. The first time England was bombed from the air.

1919- Famed dancer of the Ballet Russe Vasclav Nijinsky danced his last dance at a hotel in San Moritz Switzerland. He later became an incarcerated mental patient and underwent numerous extreme shock therapies until his death in 1950.

1940- The Three Stooges do their impression of Hitler and the top Nazis in the Columbia Pictures short comedy “You Natzy Spy”. Moe Howard was still the best Hitler impersonator. “Hail-Hail-Hailstone of Moronica! Waahoo!”

1945- In Poland, the Nazis ordered the evacuation of the remaining concentration camps in advance of the advancing Red army. Tens of thousands were marched out of Auschwitz and Birkenau west in freezing ice and cold. Any who fell behind were shot.

1955- President Eisenhower held the first press conference that was shown on television. It was held in the treaty room of the State Department. Eisenhower was famous for his ability to speak at great length and never say anything of substance. “This day, My Fellow Americans, more than at any other time, ahead of us lies the Future!”

1961- The first episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show was filmed.

1966- Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Nehru, became prime minister of India.

1977- In one of his last acts as President, Gerald Ford pardoned Tokyo Rose. Iva Toguri D’Aquino was a Japanese American who did propaganda broadcasts for Radio Tokyo urging American GI’s to surrender. She explained she was stranded in Tokyo when the war broke out and was coerced into doing the broadcasts.

1979- Wendy O. Williams, mohawk-haired lead singer of the punk band the Plasmatics was arrested in Milwaukee for masturbating on stage with a sledgehammer.

1983- Klaus Barbie arrested in Bolivia and extradited to France. Barbie was the Nazi Gestapo chief in France and was called the Butcher of Lyon for his torture and execution of hundreds of French resistance and Jews. After the war Barbie avoided arrested and was briefly hired by the CIA as an anti-soviet spy. He went to South America and applied his skills for the dictators there until his extradition. While other former Nazis like Kurt Waldheim were disingenuously vague about their past, Barbie was loudly unrepentant. It was reported he continually embarrassed the Nazis trying to hide in South America by Sieg-Heil saluting them on the street and singing old stormtrooper songs over his steak fajitas.

1985- Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA peaked the pop charts at #9.

1989- President Ronald Reagan, in one of his last acts as president, pardoned Yankee Baseball club owner George Steinbrenner for making illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon.

1991-Eastern Airlines ceased operations and went out of business. Chairman and former astronaut Frank Borman was philosophical: “Business without bankruptcy is like Christianity without Hell.”
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Why is complicated, administrative paperwork called red tape?

Answer: Red tape actually goes back to the Romans. Official Govt scrolls were fastened with red ribbon fixed with sealing wax. It was called in Latin a protocol. Since then through the Church to modern nation state, important docs were distinguished by the red ribbon.

When Napoleon escaped Elba in 1814, his disembarkation at Cannes was held up for a time while his quartermaster argued harbor tolls with local authorities. Napoleon cried in annoyance " Monsieur .....( I forgot his name), you are a mass of red tape!!"


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