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Feb 12, 2020
February 12th, 2020

Quiz: In discussing the fake news internet campaigns planned for the elections, people mention “Potemkin News sites” as a tactic. What does that mean?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: Why is a detective called a private eye?
History for 2/12/2020
BIRTHDAYS-Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin are born on the same day in 1809, although an ocean apart; Austrian Emperor Francis II, Thaddeusz Kosciuszko, Joe Garagiola, Luigi Boccherini, John L. Lewis, Bill Russell, Franco Zeffirelli, Lorne Greene, Joe Don Baker, Arsenio Hall, Christina Ricci is 40, Josh Brolin is 52.

Today is the feast day of Saint Julian the Hospitaller- Julian was a nobleman who one day when arrived home to his castle, mistook his parents for intruders and killed them. He was so distraught he ran off into the woods and became a hermit, helping people across a wild river. One day he helped a leper across who turned out to be an angel. He said:" Julian. God has forgiven you." He is the patron saint of travelers and ferrymen.

1502- Ferdinand and Isabella had thrown all the Jews out of Spain, now what about the Moslems? This day all Moslems not accepting baptism were given until April 30th to leave the country. They complained that when the Moors ruled they tolerated all religions, but the Spanish monarchs were deaf to all entreaties. Up to 3 million Moors eventually left. A century later, French Cardinal Richelieu called the Edict of 1502 "the most barbarous act in history."

1554- Lady Jane Grey was beheaded after being queen of England for nine days. This poor 16 year old kid was a pawn in the power struggle after the death of Henry VIII's sickly son Edward. The Protestant court knew the real next in line was the Catholic Mary Tudor, and Princess Elizabeth wisely kept a low profile, for now. Archbishop Cranmer and the Seymour clan pushed forward this cousin as a serious claim to the throne. It didn't wash and Mary became queen and earned the name "Bloody Mary", not for her ability to mix a cocktail. Jane went to the block with many others.

1709- Sir Alexander Selkirk shipped out for the South Pacific on a Chilean schooner. During the voyage he got into an altercation with the eccentric captain who marooned him on a deserted island. That ship later sank and the crew imprisoned in Peru. Selkirk survived on his own for four years on goats until he was rescued by a passing British ship that saw his signal fire. His story became the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's book-"Robinson Crusoe".

1733- General James Oglethorpe landed with a prison colony near present day Savannah to found the colony of Georgia.

1789- Ethan Allen, the frontiersman who's Green Mountain Boys were heroes of the American Revolution, died from injuries gotten from drunkenly falling out of a sleigh crossing frozen Lake Champlain. His last words were when someone said, "Ethan, the Angels await thee!" Allen replied:" They do? Well Goddamn 'em, let em wait!"

1790- In Philadelphia, a group of Pennsylvania Quakers presented a petition to the US Congress calling for the abolition of slavery. But the real sensation was that the bill was written and endorsed by Benjamin Franklin. The octogenarian patriot regretted sweeping the slavery issue under the rug in the past, and now at the end of his life he wanted to show where he stood. It was Franklin’s last public act. Three weeks later he died. The furious debate in Congress almost split the brand new government and in the end the Senate chose to do nothing and let the issue pass for a future time.

1793- Congress enacted the Fugitive Slave Law, making it a crime for anyone to help a slave trying to get away to freedom.

1797- First performance of the German national anthem. Composer Franz Josef Haydn was worried about the spirit of the French Revolution radicalizing the Austrian peoples. When in London he saw how the anthem God Save the King brought all Englishmen together in song. He thought his country could use a song, too. So with poet Leopold Hashka and an old Croat drinking song, Haydn composed GOTT ERHALTE FRANZ DER KAISER! God Bless Our Kaiser Francis. It was later reamed Deutschland Uber Alles and Deutschlandlied.

1798- LORD NELSON AND MRS. HAMILTON DO THE NASTY... Admiral Horatio Nelson had been increasingly shivering his timbers over his friend Sir William Hamilton's sexy young wife Emma. He was staying with the Hamilton's in their villa in Naples during his tour of duty in the Mediterranean. According to historians analyzing their love letters to each other Emma and Nelson make specific references to the 'Delightful Twelfth of February", and Mrs. Hamilton bore a daughter nine months later she named Horatia. Their open love affair in the face of polite society was one of the scandals of their age.

1809 -Happy Lincoln's Birthday, Because of Richard Nixon’s law creating President’s Day in 1970, you do not have today off as a holiday. One of my favorite Lincoln quotes is :" If I'm supposed to be two-faced, why did I settle for this one?"

1814-Battle of Chateau-Thierry- Napoleon beats somebody yet again.

1817- Battle of Chacabuco- Argentine leader Jose de San Martin defeated the Spanish Royalist Army.

1839- The Aroostook War- Maine and New Brunswick lumberjacks scuffle over their border. There was a lot of war talk but not much else happened.

1909- African American civil rights leaders like W.E.B. DuBois and Oswald Villard call for a new militant organization to combat the growing violence against blacks. the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or NAACP is born.

1912- Following Dr Sun Yat Sen’s declaration of the Republic of China, the last Manchu Emperor, Henry Pu Yi abdicated his throne.

1924- RHAPSODY IN BLUE- Band leader Paul Whiteman had commissioned a rhapsody for Jazz Band from the famous composer George Gershwin. Tonight at a concert at the Aeolian Hall in New York City it premiered in a long bill of "Modern Music". Also on the bill was jazz interpretations of "Yes We have no Bananas" and "Kitten on the Keys." Sergei Rachmaninoff, Fritz Kriesler, Igor Stravinsky and Leopold Stokowski were in attendance.
Interestingly enough Gershwin’s orchestrator was Ferde Grofe’, the composer famous for the Grand Canyon Suite. It was Grofes’ idea to bring in a jazzman named Ross Gorman to do the opening clarinet solo. While rehearsing the piece Gorman took Gershwin’s opening 17 note ascent and ‘smeared’ the riff to the long high note, creating the famous opening. Gershwin liked it so much he told him to play it always that way.
Gershwin was originally going to call his piece Concert Rhapsody for Jazz Band & Piano or American Rhapsody but his brother Ira Gershwin was inspired by some Whistler paintings he saw recently at a museum called Nocturne in Blue and Green and Harmony in Grey and Green. He suggested Rhapsody in Blue.

1941- General Irwin Rommel lands in North Africa to take over the Italian forces and his new Afrika Korps. Using lightning tactics and brilliant improvisation in the desert he became legendary as the "Desert Fox". He took over from an Italian general named Barbazioli, who because of his wild facial hair was nicknamed "Electric Whiskers".

1947- THE BIRTH OF THE 'NEW LOOK' The Paris fashion show where designer Christian Dior defined the look for women of the 1950s into the early 60's: Wasp waists, gloves and patent leather accessories, pleated mid length skirts.

1964- Miles Davis and his band played Carnegie Hall.

1967- London police arrest Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Marianne Faithful for doing drugs and doin’the nasty.

1976- actor Sal Mineo was killed outside his car port in West Hollywood. Marilyn Monroe and Shelley Winters once shared an apartment in the same building. Mineo's murder remained unsolved for many years and there were rumors that he was done in by a gay acquaintance, but the killer turned out to be a routine robber who wanted money.

1986- Since 1977 Soviet human rights activist Anatoly Scharansky was imprisoned for demanding the right for Russian Jews to emigrate to Israel. This day he was freed by Soviet Premier Mikail Gorbachov. Scharansky moved to Israel, changed his name to Natan, converted to a conservative branch of Judaism and got involved in Likud politics.

1994-"WHY ME! WHY ME?!" The Winter Olympics at Lillehammer began, which are remembered mainly for figure skater Tanya Harding hiring a hit man to break her rival Nancy Kerrigan's kneecaps with a steel pipe. Despite all the hub-bubb the gold was won by Ukrainian skater Oksana Baiyul who was arrested a year later for drunk driving.

Nancy Kerrigan signed a multi-million dollar endorsement contract with Disney, which she succeeded in blowing within a month by making fun of Disneyworld during a parade. Within range of a microphone she whispered." This is all so corny! I can’t believe I’m doing this." When someone asked if Tanya Harding could get any commercial endorsements, it was pointed out that she's an asthmatic who smokes Marlboros.

1999- President Bill Clinton was acquitted in his Impeachment trial in the Senate stemming from his affair with young intern Monica Lewinsky. During the trial word leaked out that several of the president’s chief critics like Representative Robert Livingston and Newt Gingrich also had extramarital affairs or sexually harassed their female employees. Chief Justice William Rheinquist, high on painkillers, presided over the trial with his dark Justices’ robes adorned with some gold stripes on the sleeves, the first time any Supreme Court Justice robes had any such adornment. He got the idea watching the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta Iolanthe.

The Parker Pen Company had created special monogrammed pens for the Senator’s use during the trial. But when the pens were used it was discovered they all had the name United States misspelled on them- they read the Untied States of America. Others said it was a fitting statement on the state of the government at the time.

2001- The Near Spacecraft landed on Eros, an orbiting asteroid. The first
landing on an asteroid.

2006- New York City has a record breaking snowfall of almost 27 inches.

2010- Happy Death Ray Day. A USAF high intensity laser beam shot down a missile in flight.
Yesterdays Question: Why is a detective called a private eye?

Answer: In 1850, Abe Lincoln bodyguard Alan Pinkerton opened the first privately owned detective agency. Their original ad featured an omnipresent eye and the catch phrase, “We Never Sleep.” It became so well known that detectives became known as "private eyes."