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Feb 9, 2016
February 9th, 2016

Quiz: What is the term for American politicians re-drawing borders of a district to heavily favor one party? In England, it is called a rotten borough.

Answer to yesterdays question below: Today people call each others comments “snarky”. Where did the term snarky come from?
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History for 2/9/2016
Birthdays: Constantine XI Paleaologus- the last Byzantine Emperor 1404, President William Henry Harrison, Samuel Tilden, Carmen Miranda, Alban Berg, Ronald Colman, Ernest Tubb, King Vidor, Mamie Van Doren, Roger Mudd, Alberto Vargas, Carole King, Bill Veeck, Fred Harman, Joe Pesci is 73, Zhang Zhu-Yi, Disney animator Bill Justice, Frank Frazetta, Mia Farrow is 71, Mena Suvari is 37, Ciaran Hinds is 63, Jerry Beck.

Happy Mardi Gras - Fat Tuesday- The day before Ash Wednesday ushering in the Catholic season of Lent is the cause for wild parties in many cultures- Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Quebec and other cities. Carne-Vale is Latin for Goodbye to Meat, the Lenten fast. The Mardi Gras custom in America started in Mobile Alabama around 1708 then went to New Orleans. It died out in more somber Victorian times but was renewed after the Civil War- so-' Lesse Le Bon Temps Rolle’! “Let the Good Times Roll!”

Today is the Feast of St. Apollonia, who wore a necklace of her own teeth, yanked out by her torturers. She is the patron saint of Dentists. She finished the session by throwing herself on the bonfire prepared for her. I wonder if she paused to rinse...

1267- The Polish-German town of Breslau ordered all Jews to wear funny hats.

1268- St. Louis declares his second Crusade. Crusade #8 if you're keeping score.

1540- First recorded horserace in England. Roodee Fields, Chester.

1555- John Hooper, the Anglican Bishop of Gloucester, was burned at the stake by Catholic Queen Bloody Mary Tudor.

1567- Young, sexy Mary Queen of Scots had tired of her abusive husband Lord Darnley and had the hots for macho Lord Bothwell. Darnley was convalescing from the Pox in a small cottage outside Edinburgh castle, annoyed that the Scottish parliament refused to confirm him as king. Mary had the cellar filled with gunpowder, so she could say he accidentally exploded -after all, isn't everybody’s basement filled with gunpowder? The scheme didn't work. After the explosion Darnley staggered out of the smoldering ruins alive. So Lord Bothwell had to "accidentally " throttle him. Hoot-Man!

1674- The British had taken New Amsterdam from the Dutch and renamed it New York in 1661. In 1671 a Dutch battle fleet came back, recaptured the port and renamed it New Orange. Today another British fleet arrived and made it New York again. Oiy! Make up yer minds!

1800- France first received news of the death of American leader George Washington who had died December 14th. Napoleon ordered all French flags at half mast and ten days of official mourning in honor of "This great champion of the rights of man".

1807-THE GREAT SANHEDRIN- The French Revolution had finally given its Jewish citizens political rights and spread these rights throughout Europe as the French armies conquered. This day Napoleon had called for a grand council of European rabbis to discuss issues dividing Christians and Jews. A Sanhedrin (Greek for sitting together) of the Jews had not met since 66AD. Napoleon himself wanted to attend but at the time he was busy in Poland conquering more people.

1824- The House of Representatives decided a deadlocked presidential election in favor of John Quincy Adams even though he didn’t win the popular vote.

1856- An early tabloid The London Illustrated News reported a live Pterodactyl dinosaur popped out of a rock and flew away when workers were excavating a railroad tunnel in Culmont France. Believe it or Not!

1861- The new Confederate States elected as their first and only president former US secretary of state Jefferson Davis. Among other projects Davis was once in charge of introducing Egyptian camels to the Southwestern deserts and creating the First US Army Camel-Corps. When the Southern states seceded Davis was hoping to become a general of Mississippi volunteers since he went to West Point, but not be made president. Old Sam Houston said Davis was "cold as a lizard and ambitious of Lucifer".

1864- George Armstrong Custer married Miss Elizabeth Bacon. Despite Custer’s reported taking Indian women as mistresses he remained wildly in love with his Libby. He once risked a court martial for leaving his post to go see her. After Custer was killed at the Little Big Horn Libby Custer became the custodian of his memory. She created the romantic image of him with books like "Mornings on Horseback" and " They Died With Their Boots On". She lived for 60 years and met President Franklin Roosevelt before dying in 1933 in her 80s.

1870- Congress created the U.S. Weather Service.

1900- Collegiate tennis player Dwight Davis created the Davis Cup.

1909- The First US narcotics legislation, this one against opium. At this time heroin, morphine and cocaine were all available in patent medicines. Marijuana wasn’t outlawed until after prohibition in the late 1930s. Cab Calloway reminisced about the Reefer Man on the streets of Harlem selling marijuana cigarettes, 3 for 25 cents.

1914- “Mabel’s Strange Predicament” The Max Sennett Keystone short where Charlie Chaplin first donned his baggy pants, little mustache and derby to create The Tramp, one of the most beloved characters in cinema history. He was so famous, even young Adolf Hitler was once admonished to change his mustache, because he looked too much like Chaplin.

1923- Russia’s passenger airlines Aeroflot established.

1932- Mobster Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll was a hit man for Dutch Schultz when he decided to go on his own and start shooting up New York. He earned the name "Mad Dog" for gunning down school children who accidentally strayed into his crossfire. Finally, he was so violent even the mob couldn't stand him any more. This day Mad Dog Coll was waiting for a meeting in a soda shoppe on 23rd and 7th in Manhattan. Some one called him to the phone. While waiting on the line two gunmen jumped out and sprayed the phone booth with tommy gun fire.

1942- When war broke out the US had impounded the worlds largest luxury ocean liner, France’s Normandie. Remember France at this time was occupied and part of the Nazi Reich. The Normandie was being refitted in a New York drydock to become a troopship when this day she caught fire. In a spectacular conflagration she rolled over and sank. Everyone feared it was the work of Nazi saboteurs, but and investigation showed the real culprit was a welding torch left near some flammable solvents.

1943- After 6 months, the Battle of Guadalcanal finally ended. G.I.’s reached the opposite beach and shot at Japanese soldiers running out into the surf. Evacuating Japanese forces had left behind wounded who could still fire a gun with orders to hold off the Americans as long as you can, then take a cyanide pill or blow yourself up with a hand grenade. So many warships had been sunk in the waters in between the archipelago’s islands that it is now named Ironbottom Sound. The last Japanese soldier came out of the jungle in 1947. Even 70 years later local people could still show you ancient fighter planes still dangling from the vines of the jungle canopy.

1945- The US Air Force drops tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo, destroying the city in a firestorm and killing 130,000, more people than Hiroshima 90,000.

1950- THE WHEELING SPEECH- Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy "Tail-Gunner Joe" delivered his speech in Wheeling West Virginia in which he blamed Communist subversion for all the ills of American society: the Soviet atomic bomb, the loss of China, fluoridated water, post nasal drip, the works. He dramatically waved a paper:" I have in my hand a list of 205 names- names given to the Secretary of State of known Communists who continue nevertheless to work and shape policy in the State Department !" The paper was blank, he had no such list. But the effect was electric.

1959- The AFL and CIO unite.

1964- Ed Sullivan introduced the English rock band the Beatles to a nationwide TV audience. It was a "Rrrreally Big Shewww!" ( Sullivan’s signature line)

1967- The" Lindsay Snowstorm". John Lindsay was the handsome if confused mayor of New York in the sixties of whom the Robert Redford character in "The Candidate" was partially based. He tried to cut budget expenses by stripping New York of it's snowplow fleet, thinking they were unnecessary. The city was immediately paralyzed by 14 inches of snow. Plows had to be brought from as far as Montreal. Even then, he ignored the outer boroughs for days, focusing on Manhattan.

1968-"You did it! You Finally did it! Oh, Damn you all to Hell!!" the film the Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston premiered.

1971- The Sylmar Quake (6.8) rocks L.A.

1989- In testimony before the New Jersey State Senate World Wrestling Federation President Vince McMahon admit that the sport of wrestling is purely entertainment, and no one actually gets hurt. I’m shocked, shocked!

1990- Singer Del Shannon, who had a hit with the 1961 song Runaway, shot himself with a 22 rifle. Del Shannon was supposed to replace Roy Orbison in the Travelling Wilbury's, the group that featured Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynn. Orbison had died the previous year of heart failure and the Wilburys were starting to rehearse with Del Shannon. After Shannon's suicide, the group decided to disband.

1991- Lithuania voted for independence from the crumbling Soviet Union.

1996- German World War II fighter ace Adolf Galland died at age 86. While other aces had skulls or dice painted on their planes, Galland preferred a Mickey Mouse on the tail of his Messerschmidt ME109F. Achtung Adolf, ist dat der RAF on your tail? Worse, izt der Disney Legal Department! Ach Himmel!

2001- Actor Tom Cruise filed for divorce from Nicole Kidman.
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Yesterday’s Question: Today people call each others comments “snarky”. Where did the term snarky come from?

Answer: The term is from the Lewis Carroll story The Hunting of the Snark, about a mythical monster. Other authors picked up on the funny work and used it. Jack London named his boat The Snark. Today it means irritably critical or bitchy.


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