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jan 13, 2023
January 13th, 2023

Quiz: What is bakelite?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: The French comic TinTin; What is the name of Tintin’s dog?
HISTORY FOR 1/13/2023
Birthdays: Salmon P. Chase, Horatio Alger-1834, Sophie Tucker, Gwen Verdon, Robert Stack, Charles Nelson Reilly, Rip Taylor, Brandon Tartikoff, Julie Louise Dreyfus is 62, T. Bone Burnett, Patrick Dempsey, Orlando Bloom is 46

565A.D. THE NIKA SEDITION- In Constantinople, like Rome before her, the big spectator sport was chariot racing. Fans went crazy, lots of money wagered and charioteers were celebrities. 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 kind of second tier. They even had their own booster clubs, who carried their arguments 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 fan 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 to multiply in the wild. The Italian born Jesuit’s travels also proved that California was not a big island as previously thought.

1733- James Oglethorpe reached Charleston South Carolina with a 114 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 got there on Feb 1, and called his 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 northern Mexican state of Alta-California to U.S. Gen. 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 Chillianwallah. 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 promoted to Brevet-Bishop.

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

1864- Stephen Foster, the composer of "My 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 real 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 tribe’s winter encampment 100 miles south so Alexis could experience 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 giving fancy foreigners a taste of the Wild West…

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 scandal wide open. It charged Dreyfus was scapegoated to take the wrap for informants higher up in the Army General Staff. The army sued Zola for libel, and he went into exile to avoid imprisonment. He returned one year later after an enquiry cleared Dreyfus.

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 Paramahansa Yogananda , then called “The Swami” settled in Los Angeles and gave his first lecture to an audience in LA Philharmonic Hall. He taught westerners about these new things called Yoga and Meditation. He was a cause celeb, with friends like Luther Burbank, Armelita Galli-Curci, and the Barrymores. His Autobiography of a Yogi became a bestseller, read by the folks like Steve Jobs.
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 faro dealer, he finished in L.A. speculating in real estate. He was buried in San Francisco's Jewish Cemetery because his third wife, ex-saloongirl Sadie Marcus was of that faith.
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. Recent scholarship claims that a tall young prop boy and extra named Duke Morrison (John Wayne) liked to hang around Wyatt to get advice. Supposedly the famous John Wayne swaggering walk was copied from Wyatt Earp.

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.

1939- Col. Jacob Ruppert died, the brewing tycoon and owner of the NY Yankees during their glory years of Ruth, and Gehrig. His will left his millions to a chorus girl Helen Alkemade. She said “ they were just friends.”

1943- Movie star Frances Farmer was dragged out of a Hollywood hotel in a straightjacket. 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.

1947- The comic strip “Steve Canyon”, by Milt Caniff first premiered in newspapers.

1953-" The Doctor's Plot"- Aging 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 doctors were too afraid to treat him.

1957-THE FRISBEE went into production today. Two World War II fighter pilots who met in a German prison camp, 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 plates at each other from the local Frisbee Pie Company, so when they played with the new disc, they cried “Frisbee, Frisbee!” which seemed to 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.

1962- In the wee hours of a rainy night, TV pioneer Ernie Kovacs died when he plowed his Corvair into a power pole at Beverly Glen and Santa Monica Blvd. He was attending a baby shower Billy Widler threw for Milton Berle and his wife. But it was also known that Ernie had a weakness for screwdrivers, vodka and orange juice. At the funeral, the pastor said Ernie wanted his life summed up like this,” "I was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1919 to a Hungarian couple. I've been smoking cigars ever since."

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

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

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

2002- While alone watching a football game on TV, Pres. George W. Bush almost choked on a pretzel.

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. 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 jailed.
Yesterday’s Quiz: The French comic TinTin; What is the name of Tintin’s dog?

Answer: Snowy.