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Well, I'm back in New York City, this time to teach a workshop at my old Alma MAtrix, the School of Visual Arts. Originally called the Cartoonists and Illustrators School when cartoonists like Al Kapp, Tom Gil and Bill Gallo were there.

I always have a little ritual in my mind whenever I see the skyline once more. I say to myself;' Hello New York! I'm back again. Did you miss me? Inevitably, the city answers "No." But I am nevertheless happy to be there anyway.

When buying some stuff at the pharmacy, I by chance picked up a little book- THE MARVEL COMICS GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY. By Peter Sanderson (Simon & Schuster, 2007) It is a treat written by someone with too much time on his hands to know about the locations involving the classic Marvel heroes. So if you want to know where the Baxter Building is, headquarters of the Fantastic Four,- it's on East 42nd St and Madison Ave, The Daily Bugle- 39th and Second Ave. Dr Doom's Counsulate of Latveria.-upper East Side; Peter Parker's apartment- Between Riverside Church and Columbia Univ. It's a fun little guide to the real Gotham City.

Quiz: Did Noah’s flood really happen?

Yesterday’s Quiz: What do Leonardo DaVinci, Barack Obama, John McCain and Marilyn Monroe all have in common?
History for 7/14/2008
Birthdays: Issac Bashevis Singer, Mr. Maytag, inventor of the electronic washing machine-1857, Emiline Pankhurst, Woody Guthrie, Gerald Ford, Ingmar Bergman, Jerry Rubin, Scott Rudin, Rosie Grier, Harry Dean Stanton, Polly Bergen, Gustav Klimt, Terry Thomas, Jimmy Hoffa, Dave Fleischer, Bill Hanna, Walt Stanchfield, Joel Silver producer of the Matrix movies.

1415-Joanna II, Queen of Naples called Joanna la Loca (Crazy Joanie), allows the prostitutes of Avignon to form their own guild. Solidarity Forever.

1756- In the opening moves of the French and Indian War, the French cross Lake Ontario and captured Fort Oswego. The French commander Vaudreuil wrote: The cries and howlings of our Canadians and Indians soon made the defenders decide to surrender."
Gee, howling Canadians scare me too.

1789-BASTILLE DAY-THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. In France the anger of the common people over economic hardship and arrogant indifference of the King and nobility finally exploded in mass violence. While poor people literally starved to death all King Louis XVI could think of was to trim the yearly allowance for the Royal Lapdogs. The focus of the people’s hate was the Bastille, a huge fortress- prison that towered over Paris rooftops, her cannon aimed at the people in the streets. The Parisians got guns from the Invalides and stormed the prison. Ironically the government was intending to phase out the prison anyway. When the gates were opened only a handful of petty thieves came out including a lunatic who shouted:" I am God! " But the symbolism was what counted. If you ever visit Paris don't try and look for the remains of the Bastille, the people demolished the building and paved streets over it. It’s key was given by Lafayette to George Washington, and its at Mt. Vernon. Miles away at Versailles Louis XVI had just written in his diary- July 14th 1789-" Nothing" when he heard the commotion he said:" What is that ? A revolt?" The Duke de la Rochfoucauld said:" No Sire, a revolution!"

1793- Charlotte Corday stabs French Revolutionary leader Jean Paul Marat in his bathtub. Marat had to receive callers in his tub because of a skin affliction. He was known for sayings like "If we cut off a thousand heads today, it saves us cutting off ten thousand tomorrow!" and:"We'll strangle the last king with the guts of the last priest!" Corday was the daughter of one of his victims, a moderate politician called a Girondist. Young artist Madame Tussaud was allowed to make a death mask of Marat while still in the tub and David's painting shows him expiring with a Christ-like calm.

1798- President John Adams signed the ALIEN AND SEDITION ACTS, which stated you could be jailed and if an immigrant deported, just for saying anything critical of the U.S. government. Thomas Jefferson said he was afraid to write down his views anymore in the face of such a law. The Adams’ administration was panicked over partisan politics and a perceived threat from Revolutionary France. Paris had no intention of attacking America and flew a Stars and Stripes in their Estates General. There was also the tricky problem of the hostile British Navy in the Atlantic. Yet President Adams still imagined at any moment an amphibious landing of furious Frenchmen dragging guillotines behind them and hanging businessmen from every lamppost. Congress authorized the raising of a standing army, led by elderly retired George Washington against the imaginary threat. Despite the obvious conflict with basic Constitutional rights, the Alien & Sedition Acts were never successfully challenged in court. In 1801 the time limit on the Acts were allowed to elapse without renewal, and incoming President Jefferson pardoned all those jailed under them.

1849-BLACK SHIP DAY-Commodore Perry sailed into Yedo Bay and convinced the Japanese to open trade by threatening to shell Yokohama. This ends Japan's 300 year old isolation from the outside world. The Shogun's envoys receive the Americans by laying straw mattes under their feet and talking to them in a special pavilion. The Yankees thought this was special treatment, but actually after they left, the mattes and building were burned so they could say the foreigner's feet never polluted Japanese soil.

1850 - 1st public demonstration of ice made by freon-refrigeration

1853 – In emulation of the London World Exposition at the Crystal Palace the 1st US World's fair opens at the Crystal Palace NY.

1862- Every old sailors worst nightmare came true. This day the US Navy did away with the sailors daily rum ration, in effect outlawing all alcohol on a ship except for medicinal purposes. Spirits were the preferred drink on ships since ancient times because drinking water could give you a myriad of diseases: cholera, dysentery, etc. but no bugs can live in alcohol.

1868-Seward's Folly- Congress authorized the purchase of Alaska from Russia.

1881-BILLY THE KID SHOT- Fort Sumner New Mexico sheriff Pat Garrett hid in a closet in the Kid's hotel room and shot him in the back as he was taking his boots off. Billy's last words were:" Who's there?" Backshooting was how Billy killed most of his victims. He was 21. After firing off his guns Pat Garret panicked and rushed out into the street without waiting to see their effect. Billy had such a lethal reputation that a small crowd stood in fear outside his room for nearly an hour until they were sure the Kid wasn't just playing possum but was really dead. Even though Garret was practically illiterate he wrote several best selling books on the incident, heavily exaggerated by pulp ghostwriter Ned Buntine. Eventually Pat Garret too was backshot, this time in an argument over some goats on his ranch.

1882- Gunfighter Johnny Ringo found dead in Turkey Canyon Arizona. Ringo was not part of the Gunfight at the OK Corral but he later called out Doc Holliday. Wyatt Earp claimed he had hunted down Ringo and killed him but the court ruled it a suicide.

1892- Civil War veterans who were wounded in service were awarded a $50 pension by the government. Female nurses of that conflict were awarded a $12 pension. Satirical writer and social critic Ambrose Bierce returned his money with the note" Thank you but this was not part of the original contract when I signed on to become an assassin for my Country."

1908- The Adventures of Dollie premiered, the first movie of D.W. Griffith.

1921-Sacco & Vancetti convicted. These men were Italian immigrants and socialists who were accused of the murder of a Massachusetts storeowner. The evidence was slight but hey, they were foreigners and espoused lefty politics. Despite protests around the world from folks like Picasso, George Bernard Shaw and Helen Keller they were electrocuted. Folksinger Woody Guthrie wrote a dozen ballads in tribute to Sacco & Vancetti." Let me sing you a ballad of Sacco-Vancetti, pour me some wine and eat some spaghetti..."

1933- "Well Blow Me Down"- Max Fleischer's first "Popeye the Sailor" cartoon debuted. Vaudvillian Red Pepper Sam provided his salty mumbles throughout the post-sync track. When Sam asked for more money than Max Fleischer thought he was worth, he replaced him with assistant animator Jack Mercer, who was the voice ever after.

1946 - Dr Ben Spock's "Common Sense Book of Baby & Child Care" published

1955-The Kaarman Ghia debuted. Volkswagen wanted an "image car" to compete with the sleek American designs like the Corvette and Thunderbird. So they subcontracted the Kaarman motorbus company who engaged an Italian design firm named Ghia and the distinctive little coupe was born.

1967 - The new band called the Who began a US tour as the opening act for Herman’s Hermits.

1980- The Republican Convention nominated former California Governor, actor and SAG president Ronald Reagan. The GOP under Robert Strauss & Lee Atwater completed restructuring itself after the disaster of Watergate by creating a new-conservative alliance of Sunbelt rightwingers, Evangelicals and Southern Dixiecrats. Regular Republican stalwarts who disagreed with the ultra conservative agenda- Nelson Rockefeller, Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon and Lowell Weicker, were out in the cold. At 69 Reagan was the oldest man to ever run for the presidency (Note: John McCain is 71). Reagan said of the convention:" It’s the first time in a long while I saw myself on television in prime time." Someone asked old Hollywood mogul Jack Warner "what do you think of Ronald Reagan for President?" Warner replied:" Nah, Jimmy Stuart for President. Ronald Reagan for his best friend!"
Yesterday’s Quiz: What do Leonardo DaVinci, Barack Obama, John McCain and Marilyn Monroe all have in common?

Answer: they are all left-handed.