January Gnus


Calendar Highlights

The Dangers of Chewing Bubble Gum in Class.

Another busy month.  Birthdays for Martin Luther King, George Washington Carver, Jack London, Richard Nixon and our favorite president, the glamorous Millard Fillmore . January comes from Latin Januarius, after Janus the two-faced Roman god who was able to look back into the past and at the same time, into the future.  Janus also took care of the beginnings of all undertakings.

The January Full Moon is called the Wolf Moon

Did you know that there is scarcely any difference between the Chinese and Aztec Zodiacs?

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one Year and out the other…… Anonymous

Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go……Brooks Atkinson

Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle….Eric Zorn

Science Gnus is an almanacish compendium of News of Science, History, Mathematics and Items of Interest as well as Professor Sy Yentz, Dr. Matt Matician, the Activity of the Month, Factorinos, Trivia Question, Bonus Trivia Question, Extinct, Trivia Answers, Jokes, Obscure Question, Scientist of the Month, and the Flower Rock and Word of the Month

A guid new year to ane an' a'
An' mony may ye see,
An' during a' the years to come,
O happy may ye be.
An' may ye ne'er hae cause to mourn,
To sigh or shed a tear;
To ane an'a baith great an' sma'
A hearty guid New year.

Calendar Highlights
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A guid New Year to ane an' a' and mony may ye see" Which translates to English from Scots as A good New Year to one and all, and many may you see.

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one Year and out the other…… Anonymous

Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go……Brooks Atkinson

Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle….Eric Zorn

            New Year’s Day - The world’s most widely celebrated holiday.  Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man……Benjamin Franklin…The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago, during the premiere of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve. Dick was twenty two at the time.  In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon after the first day of spring, the Vernal Equinox . The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days! That’s a long time to stand in Times Square!  The Romans continued to observe the new year in late March, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the path of the sun. A calendar correction by  the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year. But egotistical Roman leaders couldn’t leave well enough alone so tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It again established January 1 as the new year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year last for 445 days. A few hundred years later, as Christianity became more widespread, the early church began having its own religious observances concurrently with many of the pagan celebrations, and New Year’s Day “joined the party” so to speak. So who celebrates first? Since the Earth is divided into twenty four time zones, the new year moves progressively around the globe which is why we always found it amusing to see people in Hollywood celebrating New Year’s on “live” television shows when the ball descended in New York City.  The first time zone to usher in the New Year is just west of the International Date Line. (the international date line is “Hi hot stuff, what’s your sign”)  At that time the time zone to the east of the Date Line is 23 hours behind, still in the previous day. The central Pacific Ocean island nation of Kiribati – the same Kiribati that switched time zones and lost a  day in 1994 – see December 31- claims that its easternmost landmass, uninhabited Caroline Island, is the first to bring in the New Year.

            1431 –Saturday-  Borgia, Borgia,
The whole day through
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Borgia on my mind
….. apologies to Ray Charles…….Fortuna dies natalis!/Happy Birthday, Pope Alexander VI, the “Borgia Pope” born in Játiva, Spain.  Alexander (Rodrigo Borgia of Spain) was the father of Cesare Borgia and Lucretia Borgia (he had four children in all) and is remembered more for his sordid personal life than his support of Renaissance art and attempts to restore order to the anarchic city of Rome. His  neglect of the spiritual inheritance of the church contributed to the development of the Protestant Reformation.

            1449 –Monday-  Too much knowing is misery And speaking of the Reniassance, Bun Cumpleani!/Happy Birthday, Lorenzo di Medici, Italian banker, statesman and politician born in Florence.  Modestly called “Il Magnifico”, Lorenzo was de facto ruler of Florence and he made Florence the most powerful city- state in Italy. Many Renaissance artists worked at his court, including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Andy Warhol.  Niccolò Machiavelli, also from Florence called Lorenzo 'the greatest patron of literature and art that any prince has ever been'. He went kaput  at age forty three in 1492, the same year that Rodrigo Borgia became Pope Alexander VI, the same year Ferdinand and Isabella drove the Muslims from Spain, and the same year Columbus discovered America.  

            1660 –Thursday This morning (we living lately in the garret,) I rose, put on my suit with great skirts, having not lately worn any other, clothes but them. Went to Mr. Gunning's chapel………….. - Samuel Pepys started his famous diary. Pepys (rhymes with “peeps”) was twenty seven when he started the diary which ran through 1669. The diary has proven to be an unparalleled insight into the lives, trends and thoughts of seventeenth century London including detailed observations of as the plague of 1665, the Great Fire of London and Charles II's coronation - and some of the key figures of the era, including Sir Christopher Wren and Sir Isaac Newton. Fear of losing his eyesight prompted Pepys to stop writing the diary in 1669 although he never actually went blind. He also enjoyed a successful career as a naval administrator and member of parliament and inventing little marshmallow chicks.

            1735 –Saturday- Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere
….Henry Wadsworth Longfellow….Revere ware (yes he was a silversmith too). Happy Birthday, Paul Revere member of Sons of Liberty and participant in Boston Tea Party born in Boston. He is most famous for his”1 if by land, 2 if by sea” ride - at 10 pm on the night of April 18, 1775, Revere received instructions from Dr. Joseph Warren to ride to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the British approach to arrest them - . What did Revere wear?  Revere was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. …  Also riding that night was William Dawes but somehow Longfellow failed to write The Riding Clause of William Dawes.

            1797 –Sunday- If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 36 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, you might live in Upstate New York…..Jeff Foxworthy…. Albany, situated on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 225 km/140 mi north of New York City, became the capital of New York state, replacing New York City.  The State legislature had first met in Albany in 1780.  Surprisingly, considering the miserable weather, Albany is the fourth oldest city (behind Santa Fe, St. Augustine, and Hampton, Virginia), and the second oldest state capital (behind Santa Fe) in the United States. James, Duke of York and Albany and brother of Charles II had New Amsterdam and Beverwyck  renamed for him in 1664. Why Albany as capital?  During the 1780’s some services and smaller departments had moved to Albany while New York City was rebuilding after the war. Governor George Clinton convinced others to support moving the seat to Albany; this was also a matter of convenience, as he wanted to be closer to his home estate. It took several rounds of voting to pass the bill authorizing the government to move to Albany. Opponents managed to ensure that the language didn’t specify Albany in particular as the official recognized capital, instead leaving it blank. In typical New York State procedures, Albany was not made the official capital until the the 1980s

            1801-Thursday- Asteroids are the hemorrhoids of the planets. Preparation H prevents a pain in the asteroid.…..John Cafarella….. The first asteroid, Ceres, was discovered by Italian astronomer and Theatine monk, Guiseppe Piazzi of Palermo. He found Ceres, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Piazzi named it Ceres Ferdinandea, in honor of Sicily’s patron Roman goddess (of agriculture), and his patron, the king. Ceres revolves around the Sun in 4.6 years and has a diameter of about 960 km (600 miles). The discovery of Ceres followed that of the planet Uranus, made in 1781 by the British astronomer William Herschel. Piazzi's discovery confirmed the so-called "Titius-Bode's law", which assumed the existence of a "fifth planet" between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter. Of course the “fifth planet” is in thousands of pieces called asteroids but that would be quibbling. Now with the demotion of Pluto to dwarf planet, Ceres has been promoted from asteroid to dwarf planet. So now it’s Pluto’s equal.   Stay tuned….when we hit seven dwarf planets, we will have a Snow White comet.  

            1803 – Haiti, Haiti, Ha, Ha, ha, ha, ha
Haiti, Haiti, Ha, Ha, ha, ha, ha
Haiti, Haiti, Ha, Ha, ha, ha, ha
….Wyclif Jean……An oxymoronHaitian Independence. Two months after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte's colonial forces, Jean-Jacques Dessalines proclaimed the independence of Saint-Domingue, and renamed it Haiti after its original Arawak name. Setting a precedent for the ultimate abuse of power by all Haitian governments to follow, later that year, Dessalines merrily proclaimed himself Emperor Jacques I. He was killed putting down a revolt two years later. Things have worked out very well since then.

         1808 –Friday- I've heard 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' read, and I tell you Mrs. Stowe's pen hasn't begun to paint what slavery is as I have seen it at the far South. I've seen de real thing, and I don't want to see it on no stage or in no theater….Harriet Tubman…. The importation of slaves into the United States was banned. As part of a compromise during the creation of the U.S Constitution, Congress had to postpone  banning the trade until 1808. Although the Constitution prohibited Congress from abolishing the slave trade individual states were free to take that initiative whenever they pleased. New Jersey and Rhode Island led the way in 1787, with Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York soon following. By 1806, South Carolina was the only state that had not restricted the slave trade

            1810-Monday- Cross over the bridge
Leave you fickle past behind you
And true romance will find you
Brother, cross over the bridge
…..Patti Page…. Happy Birthday, Charles Ellet Jr. , American engineer  born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He built the first wire-cable suspension bridge in America, across the Schuylkill River at Fairmont, Penn., near Philadelphia. Ellet was shot and died of his wounds at the Battle of Memphis during the Civil War in 1862.

            1818 –Thursday- So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein — more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation …..Twenty year old,  Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus was published. Frankenstein was begun in the summer of 1816, and finished over the course of 1817, when Mary and her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, were living near Windsor, England. The novel appeared in three volumes and was published by the London publishing house of Harding, Mavor & Jones. It was issued anonymously, with a preface written for Mary by husband Percy. It was published in an edition of just 500 copies. The novel had been previously rejected by Percy Bysshe Shelley's publisher, Charles Ollier and by Byron's publisher John Murray.  It is currently available on Amazon.

            1859-Saturday-  Glassblowing is an animal unto itself. It requires skill, knowledge, physical strength and respect. ……William Morris…..Happy Birthday, Michael J. Owens, American glass manufacturer born in Mason County, West Virginia. Owens invented the automatic glass bottle making machine. In Toledo, Ohio, his mechanization of the glass-blowing process eliminated child labor from glass-bottle factories. In 1904 he had a machine capable of producing four bottles per second. Owens’ machines could be built with from six to twenty arms, each blowing a bottle. During his lifetime he patented more than 40 devices for improving the manufacturing of glass. In 1903, Owens formed the Owens Bottle Machine Company in Toledo Ohio. We, of course know many famous bottles;  The Bottle of Waterloo, the Bottle of Gettysburg, the Bottle of the Bulge………

            1863 –Thursday- I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper. If my name ever goes into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it. ……..Fifty five years after the importation of slaves was banned,  President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in the Confederacy.  President Lincoln justified the Emancipation Proclamation as a war measure intended to cripple the Confederacy. Being careful to respect the limits of his authority, Lincoln applied the Emancipation Proclamation only to the Southern states in rebellion.  Up until September 1862, the main focus of the war had been to preserve the Union. With the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation freedom for slaves now became a legitimate war aim.

            1864 –Friday-  The camera was waiting for me by predestination and I took to it as a musician takes to the piano or a painter to canvas. I found that I was master of the elements, that I could work miracles……Happy Birthday,  Alfred Stieglitz, American photographer born in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Seeking to prove that photography was a medium as capable of artistic expression as painting or sculpture, Steiglitz was instrumental over his fifty-year career in making photography an acceptable art form alongside painting and sculpture. The Jewish Virtual Museum notes that The Steerage, - a ship docking with first class on deck and the poor down below - which Stieglitz photographed in 1907, marks a turning point in Stieglitz’s career. It was in this photograph that Stieglitz abandoned the idea that photographs should look like paintings and began to explore photography in its own right. From this time on, Stieglitz took “straight” photographs in sharp focus, no longer using techniques to create the appearance of brushwork. He was married to artist Georgia O’Keefe. Stieglitz’ photographs of the flatiron building in New York City are among the favorite photos of the Editorial Board of the Gnus.

            1876-Saturday- I think it is a duty I owe to my profession and to my sex to show that a woman has a right to the practice of her profession and cannot be condemned to abandon it merely because she marries. I cannot conceive how women's colleges, inviting and encouraging women to enter professions can be justly founded or maintained denying such a principle. Happy Birthday, Harriet Brooks, Canadian nuclear physicist born in Exeter, Ontario. She worked with Ernest Rutherford a man who was ahead of his time in his support for women working in science. In 1903 in England, she became the first woman to study at the famous Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. She spent 1906 and 1907 in Paris working with the Marie Curie, before returning to Canada and working with Rutherford once again. Radiation of course would eventually result in giant mutant animals including lizards, caterpillars, and a scary looking Madonnalike creature, who would attack the city of Tokyo.  Brooks studied the 'emanations' from the radioactive element radium. She concluded that the emanation was a gas, and decided that its atoms were a little smaller than those of its radium 'parent'. The gas eventually came to be called radon. She was also first person to realize that one element can change into another. Like her contemporary, Marie Curie, she died of leukemia caused by working with radioactive materials.

            1892 -Friday Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!.....Emma Lazarus…..Ellis Island opened to begin processing immigrants into the United States. Ellis Island, a small three acre island just off southern Manhattan in New York City, had been known in the 1600s as Gull Island by the Mohegan tribe. After being discovered for its rich oyster beds in 1628, Dutch settlers renamed it Oyster Island. Following the hanging of one “Anderson the Pirate” in 1765, the island was again renamed, this time known as Gibbet Island after the instrument used to hang him. Finally on January 20, 1785, Samuel Ellis purchased the property and gave it his name, which remains the name of the island till today. The island was purchased by the federal government in 1808.  The island was increased to 14 acres using landfill in preparation for its use as an immigration center.  On its busiest day—17 April 1907—the Ellis Island immigration station processed the arrivals of 11,747 European newcomers. Oh yes, the first immigrant to be processed was fifteen year old Annie Moore of County Cork in Ireland.

             1896-Wednesday I bought a new book today called 'X-ray vision for beginners. I'm having a look through it now…….Unknown…..German scientist, Wilhelm Röntgen  continued publicizing his discovery of x-rays by  sending copies of his manuscript and some of his x-ray photographs to several famous physicists and friends, including Arthur Schuster in Manchester, Friedrich Kohlrauch in Gottingen, Lord Kelvin in Glasgow, Henre Poincare in Paris, and Professor Franz Exner of Vienna. Exner  then showed the x-ray images to a small group of scientists and physicians including Dr. Ernst Lecher, whose father, Z.K. Lecher, was the editor of the Vienna Presse. Rontgen had originally announced the discovery locally on December 28. Rontgen had found invisible rays that could go through black paper, and later, other materials, since he didn’t know what they were, he called them X-rays.

            1898 –Saturday- Ah New York New York big city of dreams
And everything in New York ain't always what it seems
You might get fooled if you come from out of town
But I'm down by law and I know my way around, too much
Ah too many people, too much -- a ha hah
Too much, too many people, too much, rrrrrrrah!.
....Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five…….
Happy birthday New York City. The five boroughs of New York became the city of New York this day. It was called ‘the consolidation’ and the five boroughs were fused into The Big Apple.  To this day residents of Manhattan consider themselves superior to those of the “outer boroughs”.  Everyone else looks down on the Bronx and as for Staten Island?  Well they still milk cows and take in the harvest don’t they? Whenever natives from the other boroughs go to Manhattan, they announce they are “going to the City”.  Queens, of  course is impossible to navigate – they have 67 Road next to 67 Street next to 67 Place, next to 67 Avenue and none of the road/place/avenue/streets are straight and no one plows the snow for them in the winter anyway.  Most of the residents of Queens are people who got lost trying to travel through it.  Brooklyn (Kings County) was a separate city before the consolidation, was dragged kicking and screaming (barely 50% of Brooklynites voted for consolidation) into the new city, and has never recovered from the loss of the Dodgers. The Bronx was originally part of Manhattan (that’s why Manhattan College is in the Bronx ) but became a separate county in 1914.  In 1975 the borough of Richmond, which everyone had been calling Staten Island anyway, was officially named Staten Island…. Professor Sy Yentz, born in the Bronx, knows that New York City has put the fun in dysfunctional.

1902 –Wednesday- The Rose Bowl is the Only Bowl I don’t have to clean……Erma Bombeck…….. The first Rose Bowl game was played in Pasadena, California, with the University of Michigan Woverines just edging out Stanford University  Indians (they became Cardinals in 1972 – that’s the color not the bird and Cardinal in 1982 – that’s singular, not Cardinals as in St. Louis, which are birds) by a score of 49-0. The Tournament of Roses East-West Game took place on Jan. 1, 1902, on the campus of Throop Polytechnic Institute -- now known as the California Institute of Technology. Michigan Michigan had outscored its opponents 501-0 during the regular season, including a 128-0 whipping of Buffalo. This was the last “Rose Bowl” for a while.  On New Year's Day in 1903, Tournament Park instead hosted a polo match. Roman-style chariot races were featured from 1904-1915.

            1903-Thursday-  In memory of John W. Mackay, I christen thee Pacific Cable. May it always carry messages of happiness…..Lucille Gage, the eleven-year-old daughter of Henry T. Gage. Governor of California…….The first transpacific cable from the U.S. was finalized in  Honolulu, Hawaii – the other end was near the Cliff House in San Francisco - and the first message was telegraphed to President Theodore Roosevelt in Washington. The message was “Wow, it’s warm and sunny here.  Not many tourists.  Beach-front condos available. We should make this a state”. The cable ship Silvertown had laid 2,620 miles of cable since leaving San Francisco, California, on December 14, 1902. Prior to this, messages had to travel across the Atlantic to the Far East via Capetown and the Indian Ocean, or via London to Russia, then across the Russian landline to Vladivostock, then by submarine cable to Japan and the Philippines.

             1909 –Friday- Pluto will always be a planet in my book. That's because my book was published before Pluto was blacklisted by planetary scientists……Jarod Kintz…… London astronomers, based on the work of American Percival Lowell (the same Percival Lowell who believed the lines on Mars were “canals”)  hinted at sightings of a planet beyond Neptune. Of course now we know they are wrong.  There used to be a planet beyond Neptune, it was called Pluto, but now it is not a planet. It was voted out of the Planet Club by just 424 astronomers who remained for the last day of a meeting of the International Astronomical Union in Prague in 2006. It is now a dwarf planet Kuiper Belt Object.

            1915 –Friday  America is the country where you can buy a lifetime supply of aspirin For one dollar and use it up in two weeks……John Barrymore……Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), invented by Felix Hoffman in 1897 while searching for something to relieve the pain of his father's arthritis, was sold for the first time without the need of a prescription and in pill form.  This made it the first analgesic pill. It had been available since 1900 in tablet form. The pills were manufactured by Bayer pharmaceuticals in Germany. The medicine had previously been used in powder in glass bottles.

            1919 –Wednesday- Whatever its shortcomings, The Catcher in the Rye is from the heart—not Holden Caulfield's heart, but Jerome David Salinger's. He said everything he had to say in it, which may well be why he has said nothing else ….Jonathan Yardley……..Happy Birthday,  J. D. Salinger, hermitish American novelist born in Manhattan, NYC.  He was the author of Catcher in the Rye –a tale of adolescent angst on required reading lists everywhere.   We read Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roofbeam Carpenters  and Seymour: An Introduction, but we didn’t like them as much.  When Salinger went to that big publishing house in the sky we expected a flood of material from his years of solitude.  So far……nada.

            1928-Sunday-  A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous…..Ludwig Mies van der Rohe……The Milam Building in San Antonio, Texas. All 21 stories of it became the first high-rise office building, in the world with air-conditioning installed during construction. The air conditioning system, built by Carrier, had a central refrigeration plant in the basement that supplied cold water to small air-handling units on every other floor.  Professor Sy Yentz believes that like many offices he has worked in during his career, the air conditioning only worked during the winter. The Milam building was named for Texas patriot Ben Milam who was involved in activities  in 1835 that would set the stage for the Battle of the Alamo. Ben Milam is gone but the building is still there. And so is the Alamo.

            1934 –Monday-It’s mighty good to get up and leave. This Rock ain’t good for nobody……Frank Weatherman, last convict to leave …… In what should be recognized as a sacred holy day for the movie industry, Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay was closed as a prison due to rising operational costs . This made it the source for many motion pictures, except when Native Americans occupied it for a few years and turned it into a pig sty.  Some movies include: Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story (1980), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), Escape From Alcatraz (1979), The Rock (1996), Terror at Alcatraz (1982) and lots of Al Capone movies.   The island received its name in 1775 when Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala charted the San Francisco Bay, and named the rocky piece of land La Isla de los Alcatraces, which translated to "Island of the Pelicans." The small uninhabited island had little to offer, with its swift currents, minimal vegetation, and barren ground and ubiquitous film crews. In 1934 the cellhouse contained a total of nearly 600 cells, with no one cell adjoining any perimeter wall. If an inmate managed to tunnel their way through the cell wall, they would still need to find a way to escape from the cell house itself just like Clint Eastwood. The inmates would only be assigned to B, C, and D blocks, since the primary prison population would not exceed 300 inmates and as many tourists as the tourist boats could carry in one day.

            1935 Tuesday-  If a man watches three football games in a row he should be declared legally dead…..Erma Bombeck….Bucknell University (the Bisons) , of Lewisburg, Pa. – in its only Orange Bowl appearance  won the first Orange Bowl 26–0 over the University of Miami (Hurricanes aka The U) at Miami Field.  The Orange Bowl (stadium) would be built on that site.  Note, the Orange Bowl had been called the Palm Festival for the previous two years.  Bucknell brought 280 gallons of their own water supply from Pennsylvania to combat the heat.  Another famous sidelight from the game was the transmission of the first wire photo across the United States by Associated Press. Bucknell replaced the  Western Maryland College, Green Terrors who had refused the invitation so they could play in the East West Shrine Game which had a bigger crowd.

      1936 – Wednesday,  Stop, Look and Listen….youre waitin’ for a red light…Billboard magazine, founded in 1894 as an entertainment periodical for circuses,  published its very first record sales chart, with the first Number One listed as jazz violinist Joe Venuti's  78 rpm Stop! Look! Listen!.  Vocals were by Ruth Lee.

      1937-Friday-  Safety glass(es): All in favor say “Eye”……OHSHA Slogan (almost)……Safety glass, first invented by French chemist Edouard Benedictus in 1909, became mandatory for the windshields of cars. Also note that windshield wipers also became mandatory this year. Safety glass shatters into tiny pieces rather than breaking into large slabs that might cut off one’s head in an accident. Safety glass is a glass sandwich in which a layer of clear, flexible plastic is bonded between two layers of glass. Benedictus had discovered safety glass in another of those serendipitous science accidents.  He dropped a beaker.  It didn’t break. He discussed this with his assistant (note; Professor Sy Yentz has dropped thousands of glasses and they always break).  His assistant recalled that the flask had contained a small amount of liquid plastic (celluloid), which had evaporated leaving a transparent layer of plastic on the inside of the flask. When the flask hit the floor, the layer of plastic held the shards together, preventing it from shattering et voila!

            1937 –Friday-  Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein……Joe Theisman……On the same day that shatterproof glass windshields became mandatory, The first Cotton Bowl game was  played in Dallas, Texas. The Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University (TCU), led by all time great, “Slingin’ Sammy Baugh,  defeated  the Golden Avalanche of  Marquette University, Milwaukee 16–6. Actually, The first Cotton Bowl was really the   post-season game between two high school teams on New Years Day of 1936. The following year, college teams replaced the high school teams. Marquette, a university with an identity crisis, had multiple nicknames for its athletic teams.  The football beam was the Golden Avalanche, the others were the Warriors Blue and Gold, or Hilltoppers. They dropped Warriors in fit of political correctness during the 1980s and are now the Golden Eagles.  They no longer have a football team.

            1942 –Thursday-  (1) Each Government pledges itself to employ its full resources, military or economic, against those members of the Tripartite Pact :and its adherents with which such government is at war.
(2) Each Government pledges itself to cooperate with the Governments signatory hereto and not to make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies.
The foregoing declaration may be adhered to by other nations which are, or which may be, rendering material assistance and contributions in the struggle for victory over Hitlerism.
…….As the tide of World  War II began to turn in favor of the Allies, (there was still a long way to go)  President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issued a declaration, signed by representatives of 26 countries, calling themselves  the “United Nations.” The signatories of the declaration promised to create an international postwar peacekeeping organization.  Well, that’s sure worked out well.

        1943 – Friday, Bolling: Yeah, and you admit exchanging blows with him. Nancy Troy: There was no exchange. Only two blows were struck. He struck my husband. My husband struck the floor.  A Night To Remember had its New York premiere. No, it’s not a movie about the sinking of the Titanic.  That was 1958. This one is a comedy about A mystery writer and his newlywed wife moving into a Greenwich Village apartment and finding themselves with a corpse. Directed by Richard Wallace, it starred Loretta Young, Brian Aherne, a non-Charlie Chan Sydney Toler, and Gale Sondergaard,. 

1946 – Tuesday,  Any fool can use a computer. Many do …..Unknown….The construction of ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), the first purely electronic computer, was completed by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert. The 150 feet wide with 20 banks of flashing lights contraption was built at the Moore School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  The ENIAC was not a stored-program computer.   David Alan Grier described it as a collection of electronic adding machines and other arithmetic units, which were originally controlled by a web of

  1951 –Monday If you want it, here it is, come and get it
Make your mind up fast
If you want it, anytime, I can give it
But you better hurry 'cause it may not last
…..Badfinger…..The first pay-per-view television was instituted by the Zenith Radio Corporation in Chicago. Just like today when we can view cultural highlights like guy buddy movies, girl buddy movies, chick flicks, gender neutral flicks, or the ninth episode in a movie franchise,  the company sent movies over the airway via scrambled signals. 300 families participated in the test and they would send telephone signals to decode the movies for $1 each. Three movies offered were April Showers – 1948 a comedy starring Jack Carson and Ann Southern,  Welcome Stranger 1947, a comedy starring Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald and Joan Caulfield and Homecoming  a romantic war drama starring Clark Gable,  Lana Turner, and Anne Baxter.  Two comedies and a drama and during the four-week test, families ordered more than 2,600 movies.

            1953 –Thursday-  Hank Williams was officially kaput. Country singer  Hank Williams Sr., 29, Your Cheatin Heart, Jambalaya,  died of a drug and alcohol overdose while en route to a concert in Canton, Ohio. Williams got into the backseat of his Cadillac for the trip fortified with vitamin B shots and a bottle of whiskey among other pharmaceuticals. When the chauffeur was stopped for speeding, the policeman noticed what looked like a dead man in the back seat.  Williams was taken to a West Virginian hospital and he was officially declared dead at 7:00 a.m. on January 1, 1953. He  probably died late on the 31st.   Ironically, the last single released in his lifetime was I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive.

        1961 Sunday, Cause we're the Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers,
Houston Oilers, Number One.
Yes, we're the Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers,
Houston Oilers, Number One.
……….Mike Jones…. At Jeppesen Stadium, the hometown, Houston Oilers (now the Tennesse Oilers beat LA Chargers (soon to move to San Diego)  and quarterback Jack (then Jackie) Kemp,  24-16  in the 1st AFL championship game  as former Chicago Bear, George Blanda threw 3 TDs for Houston. Blanda was also the kicker and kicked 3 extra points and a field goal.

    1962 –Monday- Guitar groups are on the way out….. Dick Rowe…..
, Decca Records in England signed the Tremeloes (Here Comes My Baby, Silence is Golden) after turning down another group that had just auditioned on this day….The Beatles .  The Beatles ( with Pete Best on drums) had their very first major-label audition, recording Like Dreamers Do,  Barrett Stong’s Money (That's What I Want)," Till There Was You, The Sheik Of Araby (really),  A gender changer of Phil Specter’s To Know Her Is To Love Her,  Bobby Vee’s Take Good Care Of My Baby, Memphis, Tennessee, Sure To Fall (In Love With You), Hello Little Girl, Three Cool Cats, Crying, Waiting, Hoping,September In The Rain, Besame Mucho (!!!!!). the Coasters’ Searchin', and the lone original song, Love Of The Loved. Decca A&R man Dick Rowe, in a brilliant decision passed on signing them, and instead signed  Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, who had also recorded a test session this day.

      1964 – Wednesday, Has it ever struck you that life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quick you hardly catch it going?  Even the great ones can swing and miss (in this case, twice)  as Tennessee Williams opened a revised version of his critically-panned 1963 play The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore at the Brooks Atkinson Theater Well it didn’t stop a year later either and did even worse than the first version and closed on January 4 after just 5 performances.  Produced by David Merrick and directed by Tony Richardson, the udderly awful play starred Tallulah Bankhead, Tab Hunter (?????!!!!!!) and Marian Seldes.

      1966-Saturday- Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know it because I've done it thousands of times. …..Mark Twain……. All US cigarette packages began carrying the health warning: Caution: Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health. The packages were not large enough to add the words “you self destructive, selfish idiot”. S 559, the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, required that as of Jan. 1, 1966, all cigarette packages and cartons sold in the United States and its possessions must bear the following statement: “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” The bill applied to imported as well as domestically produced cigarettes.

1966 – Saturday,  Hello darkness, my old friend, I've come with talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping, left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains
Within the sound of silence
……. On the same day we were warned about cigarette smoking, Simon & Garfunkel's The Sounds Of Silence hit #1 on the Billboard Charts mercifully knocking Over and Over by the Dave Clark Five. Simon and Garfunkel would be replaced at the top by the Beatles’ We Can Work it Out.  The worked it out and Sounds of Silence reappeared at # 1 the following week.

            1972 –Saturday- Jeremiah was a bullfrog
Was a good friend of mine
I never understood a single word he said
But I helped him a-drink his wine
And he always had some mighty fine wine
Joy to the world
All the boys and girls now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me
……Three Dog Night…………..From the “wish we were there” column, Three Dog Night (Joy to the World, Celebrate) become the first rock band to appear on a Tournament of Roses Parade float. Lawrence Welk (Calcutta, Champagne Song) was the grand marshal.

1985 – Tuesday- Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
….The Buggles…Yes, like MTV,  they actually used to play music videos, VH-1 (Video Hits – 1) premiered as an adult contemporary music video channel with Marvin Gaye's Star Spangled Banner video. The first “V J”s were mostly New York radio DJs, Don Imus, Frankie Crocker, Scott Shannon, the awful Jon Bauman ("Bowzer" from 50’s rip off artists, Sha Na Na), Bobby Rivers, and singer, Rita Coolidge.

            1995- Sunday- If everybody had an ocean
Across Norway
Then everybody'd be surfin'
Like Californi-a
You'd seem 'em wearing their baggies
Huarachi sandals too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin' in Norway
……Apologies to the Beach Boys…... The Draupner wave was the the name given to of the first freak wave (not caused by a  hurricane, earthquake, or giant porcine person doing a cannonball)  to be detected by a measuring instrument.  It occurred at the Draupner oil platform in the North Sea off the coast of Norway.  Prior to this measurement, such freak waves were known to exist only through anecdotal evidence provided by those who had encountered them at sea. The wave had a height of approximately 30ft. Before Draupner, wave researchers believed that the distribution of wave heights roughly followed the famous bell-shaped Gaussian curve. According to this theory, extreme waves such as this one would occur ones every 1,000 or 10,000 years.  Well that theory certainly worked out well.   Note; freak waves are also distinguishable by their nose rings, lip rings, “goth” appearance and love for the music of Metallica.

             1996-Monday- A snail was tired of being slow. He went out and bought a really fast sports car and had the dealer paint a big 'S' on each side of it.
Whenever someone saw him zooming past in his new car, they would say, "Hey, look at that S-car go!"
Tree snail kaput and hence extinct!  Alas wee tree snail, we hardly knew ye. The last Polynesian Tree Snail died at the London Zoo. A protozoan disease of the digestive gland is thought to have been responsible for the kapution of this last individual of the species. As often happens when non-native species are imported to solve a problem, the cure is worse than the disease, so when residents of Raiatea, near Hawaii  began importing predatory snails from Florida (these snails would do anything to get beach front land or to the front of the line entering the latest hot nightclub)  in 1986 to eat another kind of pest snail, the predators attacked the native snails (sort of like colonization). By 1991 they had driven the species to the brink of extinction. Scientists captured the last known P. turgida individuals to try to save them through captive breeding which, of course, didn’t work.  The snail’s final words were “it all happened so fast….”

            2000- Saturday- Time has come today
Young hearts can go their way
Can't put it off another day
I don't care what others say
They say we don't listen anyway
Time has come today
……The Chambers Brothers……..Greenwich Electronic Time - known as GeT -  a joint project of industry and the government of the United Kingdom, was initiated to act as an international standard for all electronic commerce. All e-mail messages and e-commerce transactions already carry a “time stamp” based on Co-ordinated Universal Time - the modern equivalent of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The clocks in computers have software which converts e-mail and message dates into local time. GeT provides a single time standard for worldwide Internet traders and users around the world.

            2000-Saturday-  Y2K is a very, very serious problem.... There's no point in sugarcoating the problem... If we don't fix the century-date problem, we will have a situation scarier than the average disaster movie you might see on a Sunday night. Twenty-one months from now, there could be 90 million taxpayers who won't get their refunds, and 95% of the revenue stream of the United States could be jeopardized." -- Charles Rossetti, Commissioner of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service …….A notable event that didn’t happen.  There was no Y2K millennium bug wreaking havoc on computers and other electronics.  The non-event was preceded by months of hand wringing, dire predictions, millions of printed words, television specials, the sale of Y2K prevention software, and Y2K experts.

            2008 Tuesday- I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out."…..Rodney Dangerfield …….The first outdoor National Hockey League game held in the United states occurred as The Buffalo Sabres hosted the NHL Winter Classic against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh won 2-1 in a shootout. Pittsburgh won on a goal by “wunderkind” Sidney Crosby.  The game, attended by 76,000 maniacs, was played in a snow storm. Buffalo? January? Lake effect snow?  What were they thinking?!.  Surprisingly, this was better than an exhibition hockey game played in Las Vegas (what were they thinking? !!) in September 1991 in 85˚ temperatures. During the game, the crowd and players were attacked by swarms of flying insects.  Really! We don’t make these things up.

2014 – Thursday, Newsreader: A huge asteroid could destroy Earth! And by coincidence, that's the subject of tonight's miniseries.
Dogbert: In science, researchers proved that this simple device can keep idiots off your television screen. [TV remote control] Click…….Asteroid 2014 AA impacted the Earth and broke up over the Atlantic Ocean resulting in mutations of human DNA that cause people to call in to Talk Radio sports shows. The very small asteroid -- 6 to 9 feet (2 to 3 meters) in size was discovered, and immediately followed up, early on the morning of January 1 by the Catalina Sky Survey operating near Tucson Arizona.  It was only the second time in history that an asteroid was seen before it conked us; the first was 2008 TC3, which burned up over Sudan in Africa in 2008. That one was also discovered just a day before atmospheric entry.



533 – Thursday,  Ahh, ya doesn’t has to call me Johnson! You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay, or you can call me Johnny or you can call me Sonny, or you can call me RayJay, or you can call me RJ… but ya doesn’t hafta call me Johnson …..Bill Saluga…….Mercurius, birth date unknown,  chose the name Pope John II, the first pope to adopt a new name upon elevation to the papacy. He considered his name to be pagan and, assumed the name of the martyred St. John (523–526) who had been imprisoned and starved to death by Theodoric.

1492 Saturday-  How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog,…….Winston Churchill…….. The Moors surrendered the city of Grenada to the forces of Christian King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.  The Muslims had conquered parts of Spain, during some of their continuous attacks on Europe, over the previous 400 years. The the city of Granada was a Moorish fortress that rose to prominence during the reign of Sultan Almoravid in the 11th century. In 1238, the Christian Reconquest forced Spanish Muslims south, and the kingdom of Granada was established as the last refuge of the Moorish civilization. Ferdinand and Isabella did not want a bloodbath of a frontal assault on a fortified city, and so granted generous terms. Muslims who remained in Spain were to be given religious freedom.

1647 – Saturday, The poverty of the country is such that all the power and sway has got into the hands of the rich, who by extortious advantages, having the common people in their debt, have always curbed and oppressed them in all manner of ways. ……Happy Birthday, Nathaniel Bacon, American rebellion leader born in Suffolk, England. Bacon was a Virginia planter who led the first revolt in England’s American colonies. The difficulties arose with the Doeg and Susquehannock tribes’s aggression. For some reason they appeared to be upset that people were stealing their land. Bacon wanted all out war on the Indians. Governor William Berkeley of Virginia denied the request.  Bacon’s forces were numerically superior to Berkeley’s and the Governor was forced to establish universal manhood sufferage among other reforms.  Bacon’s Rebellion only lasted a few months. The immediate cause was Bacon's kapution probably from dysentery on Oct. 26, 1676 hastened the end.  Important too was King Charles II  sending 1,130 troops to support the constituted government.

1765 –Wednesday, Have you heard the one about a chemist who was reading a book about helium?
He just couldn't put it down.
…….Happy Birthday, Charles Hatchett, English chemist born in London.  Hatchett discovered an element he called columbium in 1801. He then joined the long list of “discoverers” forgotten by history.  While working at the  British Museum, Hatchett found the element while analyzing columbite, a black rock. Hatchett was able to detect a new element in the complex mineral, but he couldn’t  isolate it, even after he told it to go to its room. Fast forward to 1849 when German chemist, Heinrich Rose, rediscovered the metal and named it niobium. Nb - Atomic Number: 41, Atomic Weight: 92.90638

             1788 –Wednesday- Georgia, Georgia,
The whole day through
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind
…….Ray Charles…..Georgia, became the 4th state to ratify the Constitution of the United States of America. Georgia elected six delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. Only four went. And only two—Abraham Baldwin and William Few—signed the final document.  Georgia called a special convention in Augusta to consider the proposed charter. The delegates voted unanimously to ratify the new U.S. Constitution, the fourth state to do so. Georgia, named after King George II (one of the “German Georges”, the first George – there were four in all- didn’t speak English and was imported from Hanover) was established under a charter to James Oglethorpe under the condition that it be named after aforementioned George. Georgia would become the only state completely controlled by the English during the American Revolution. State stuff; flower Cherokee rose (1916) tree live oak (1937), bird brown thrasher (1935 – that’s why the NHL team has been named the Atlanta Thrashers), song “Georgia on My Mind” (1922) Nicknames: Peach State, Empire State of the South

             1791 – I like big butts and I can not lie
You other brothers can't deny
..Sir Mixalot…….. The The Big Bottom Massacre was an shameful encounter between Northwest Territory settlers and local American Indian tribes. Members of the Delaware and Wyandot tribes, decided to attack settlers at Big Bottom, an isolated settlement. The settlers were inside of the blockhouse, preparing their supper. The Indians just strolled right up to the blockhouse undetected since the clever settlers, who knew they were living in hostile Indian territory, had failed to post any sentries. Many of the natives fired through the gaps in the logs, while other Indians crashed through the door of the structure. They killed eight of the residents inside the blockhouse. They captured another five whites.

1811 – Wednesday, You dirty rat, I'm going to get rid of you just like you gave it to my brother………James Cagney……..Senator Timothy Pickering of Massachusetts became the first US senator to be censured. There have been 8 of the worthies censured with the latest David Durenberger of Minnesota in 1990. Pickering got in a pickle because he had revealed confidential documents communicated by President James Madison to the rest of the senate.

            1813-Saturday- I’m not a Luddite completely I believe in refrigerators to cool my martinis, and washing machines because I hate to see women smacking their laundry against a rock. When I hear about hardware, I think of pots and pans, and when I hear about software, I think of sheets and towels…..Studs Terkel……. In York, England 66 people went on trial for offenses connected with Luddism. Within days, seventeen of them had been executed. Luddites, who took their name from Ned Ludd (who may or may not have existed) had launched a campaign to destroy the factory machinery (usually sewing) they blamed for their unemployment. Nowadays “luddite” has evolved to mean someone opposing new technologies or technological progress and many of us who are thisclose to destroying a  recalcitrant computer or annoying TV, or  lemon flavored car, may be potential luddites. Luddites of the world unite!  Of the 64 men, 17 were executed by being hanged for their offences such as rioting, murder and robbery, 25 were transported to Australia for giving or receiving illegal oaths, 22 others were either acquitted or released on bail.

            1822 –Wednesday  Heat can never pass from a colder to a warmer body without some other change, connected therewith, occurring at the same time. …….Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!/Happy Birthday,  Rudolf Clausius, German mathematical physicist born in Köslin, Prussia (now Poland). Clausius  was one of the founders of thermodynamics (the branch of physics that deals with the relationships between heat and other forms of energy).  Clausius managed to reconcile the results of James Prescott Joule with the theories of Sadi Nicolas Léonard Carnot by abandoning the idea that heat was conserved. We know this to be true because our house gets rather chilly during the winter when we turn the heat off. He stated formally the equivalence of heat and work (that’s the First Law of Thermodynamics) and developed and named  the concept of entropy to explain the directionality of physical processes. Entropy, the measure of the disorder in a closed system, and its direction -- toward increasing disorder -- cannot be reversed. Congress seems to be a good example of entropy.Clausius work led to  the Second Law of Thermodynamics.       

1839-Wednesday-I have seized the light. I have arrested its flight. …….French pioneering photographer Louis Daguerre took the first photograph of the moon. Yes……and you knew this was coming…… a city worker objecting to Daguerre’s taking his picture, pulled down his pants and there it was, the first picture of a moon. Oh, Daguerre also took the first picture of Earth’s natural satellite, the Moon.  Exposure time for the photographs was about twenty minutes. Legend has it that he accidentally broke a mercury thermometer, giving him the idea that a shorter exposure time would produce a very faint image, but this image could be further enhanced via a chemical process involving the vapor given off by mercury heated to 75° Celsius. In 1837 Daguerre had fixed photographs permanently with sodium chloride. Alas, the picture did not survive on March 8, 1839 Daguerre's laboratory burned to the ground, destroying the inventor's written records and the bulk of his early experimental works.

            1842 –Sunday- I had dreams once. Once I wanted to build the world’s longest suspension bridge. But then I found out someone else had already done it……..Jack Handley……..Charles Ellet’s (see his birthday, January 1, 1810) first wire suspension bridge - A bridge having the roadway suspended from cables that are anchored at either end and usually supported at intervals by towers- was opened to pedestrian traffic over the raging waters of the mighty Schuylkill River in  Fairmount, Pennsylvania. Supported by five wire cables on each side, the bridge had a span of 358 feet.

            1859 –Sunday- Has the moment arrived when you are called upon to cast aside your youthful associations and youthful irresponsibilities to take your place in society as a man or woman? …..Erastus Beadle’s (he was a member of the Beadles before George joined Paul and John in the Beadles) Dime Book of Practical Etiquette for Ladies and Gentleman (full title - Beadle's Dime Book Of Practical Etiquette For Ladies And Gentlemen : Being A Guide To True Gentility And Good-Breeding, And A Complete Directory To The Usages And Observances Of Society) was published It  was 72 pages and was Beadle's contribution to the then current enthusiasm for instruction on best behavior. He also wrote the celebrated Ham, Eggs, and Corncake, a Nebraska Territory Diary in 1857.

            1860 –Monday-  Uhura: Tell me how your planet Vulcan looks on a lazy evening when the moon is full. Mr. Spock: Vulcan has no moon, Miss Uhura. ……..One out of two ain’t bad.  French astronomer Urban Le Verrier had discovered the planet Neptune based principle of perturbations in the orbit of Uranus. He then predicted a planet between Mercury and the Sun. This planet was supposed to have a low mass and be closer to the Sun than Mercury, so close in fact  that the telescopes of the day could not resolve it due to the overwhelming brightness of the Sun itself. They then mistook sunspots for the planet and announced on this day that they had found the planet Vulcan  In 1915, it became clear that there never was a Planet Vulcan. Einstein's theory of relativity precisely explained the anomaly as a byproduct of the Sun's gravitational field. However, we know that there really is a planet Vulcan because it is the home of Mr. Spock….so there.

1872 -  Tuesday, Q: What do you do with a sick chemist?

A: If you can't helium, and you can't curium, then you might as well barium. ……Happy Birthday, Albert Coombs Barnes American chemist born in Philadelphia.  Barnes invented the antiseptic Argyrol in 1902. This is a silver-protein compound used in aqueous solution as a topical antiseptic for for mucous membrane tissues

 1890-Thursday-  Since this society has been organized and so much thought and reading directed to the early struggles of this country, it has been made plain that much of its success was due to … women of that era… I feel sure that their daughters can perpetuate a society worthy the cause and worthy themselves ….Caroline Harrison…….President Benjamin Harrison (the one sandwiched between Grover Cleveland’s two  terms) with the encouragement of wife, Caroline, appointed Alice Sanger as the first female White House staffer. Sanger was hired as a stenographer. Previously, the only women employed in the White House were maids. Sanger also operated the White House typewriter.  When Harrison arrived at the White House, the typewriter was important enough to have its own two small rooms – shared with the telephone and telegraph – and then  its own operator, Miss Sanger

1905 –Monday-  On the news that the Tsar had sent the troops icons to boost their morals, General Dragomirov quipped: 'The Japanese are beating us with machine-guns, but never mind: we'll beat them with icons.”…..Orlando Figes …….The turning point in the Russo -Japanese War, came as Port Arthur, the Russian naval base in China, surrendered to Japanese naval forces under Admiral Heihachiro Togo, Japan’s greatest naval hero. Ah the lessons of history……thank you George Santayana……. in February 1904 Japan, practicing their art of surprise attacks had launched a surprise naval attack on Port Arthur, decimating the Russian fleet. Thirty seven years later the same thing happened to the U.S Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor.

1909 –Saturday,  I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue! Happy Birthday, Barry Goldwater, American general and politician born in Phoenix, Arizona.  Goldwater servered as senator from Arizona from 1953-1965, 1969-1987 . He ran for president (with William Miller) in 1964 and was swamped in a sea of JFK nostalgia, LBJ lies and left wing media animus toward the rising Conservative movement. He called for a harsher diplomatic stance toward the Soviet Union, opposed arms-control negotiations with that country, and charged the Democrats with creating a quasi-socialist state at home. During his 1964 presidential campaign, a television ad, shown just once,  featuring a girl counting daisies, followed by a mushroom cloud, was broadcast. The commercial was designed to imply that he would start a nuclear war if he were elected president. Known as the "Daisy ad", the attack was viewed as a factor in his landslide defeat

            1920-Friday- The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom………Happy Birthday, Isaac Asimov scientist, educator, and incredibly prolific writer born in Smolensk, Russia .  No accurate records exist of his date of birth. He celebrated  January 2, 1920, which was the latest possible date, but it might have been as early as 4 October 1919. Asimov wrote approximately 500 books including works on Shakespeare, the Foundation Trilogy, I Robot and Caves of Steel who was born in Petrovichi,  Russia.  It was Asimov who coined the word “robotics”. People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

1932 – Saturday,  Dr. Jekyll: Oh, God. This I did not intend. I saw a light but did not know where it was headed. I have tresspassed on your domain. I've gone further than man should go. Forgive me. Help me! The premiere of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde  directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Frederic March, Miriam Hopkins, and Rose Hobart. The movie, one of several was based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s book involving good and evil and the duality of man.  IMdB lists 23 Jeckyll and Hyde movies including Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Mouse – a Tom & Jerry cartoon, Dr. Jeckyll and Sister Hyde, and two musicals, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, The Musical and Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, Rock n Roll Musical.

            1941-Thursday- He was a famous trumpet man out Chicago way
He had a boogie style that no one else could play
He was the top man at his craft, but then his number came up
And he was gone with the draft, he's in the army now a blowin' reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of company B
…….The Andrews Sisters (Patty, Maxine and LaVerne) recorded the song, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy on Decca Records. The song, which became a classic World War II hit, gained popularity and recognition in Buck Privates, one of Abbott and Costello’s better movies……before they met Frankenstein of course.

1941 –Thursday-  There is a new way with very very tiny fiber optics, which give an enormous high resolution. There are many many thousand fibers, very very close together with a very small diameter……Lennart Nilsson…..And on the same day, Happy Birthday, Donald P. Keck, American research  physicist born in Lansing, Michigan. Keck,  with his colleagues at Corning Glass, Dr. Robert Maurer and Dr. Peter Schultz, invented fused silica optical waveguide, aka, optical fiber. Optical fiber (fiber optics) refers to the medium and the technology associated with the transmission of information as light pulses along a really really really  thin glass or plastic wire or fiber. Optical fiber carries much more information than conventional copper wire and is in general not subject to electromagnetic interference and the need to retransmit signals. Most telephone company long-distance lines are now of optical fiber.

1943 –  Saturday, Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven….Lord Byron,…….Dogum gunun kutlu olsun!/Happy Birthday, Janet Akyüz Mattei, Turkish-American astronomer born in Bodrum, Turkey.  She Mattei was an internationally recognized astronomer specializing in the field of variable stars, particularly eruptive (cataclysmic) and pulsating (long period) variables. As the Director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers she was responsible for the quality control of over 450,000 observations per year, submitted by observers--mostly amateur astronomers--worldwide.

                1953 –Friday-What a revoltin' development THIS is……..Chester A. Riley…… The Life of Riley debuted on NBC-TV.  William Bendix portrayed Chester A. Riley. This second version and the series was much more successful, among the top twenty-five most watched programs from 1953-55 before coming to and end in 1958. Jackie Gleason starred in the original version which ran from October 4, 1949 to March 28, 1950 although Bendix starred in the original radio program. In today’s  journey into the dark side of comedy, Riley tries to insure his daughter, Bab’s,  election as freshman class president.

            1954Saturday, Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so wonderful
Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so good
No one could be, so gentle and so lovable
Oh, my pa-pa, he always understood.
Replacing Tony Bennett’s Rags to Riches, Eddie Fisher's syrupy Oh! My Papa  hit #1 on the Billboard Charts. Oh My Papa would be put out to pasture by Doris Day’s Secret Love the following week.

1959 –Friday- Fly me to the moon
And let me play amoung the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars
…..Frank Sinatra……. Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and to orbit the Sun, was launched by the U.S.S.R. Actually, it was an “oops” as a malfunction in the ground-based control system caused an error in the rocket's burntime, and the spacecraft ended up flying by the Moon. Approaching it at 5,900 km at the closest point, Luna 1 became the first object launched by mankind to reach heliocentric orbit (orbit around the Sun). It was then dubbed a "new planet" and renamed Mechta. Later, following the Pluto demotion, it too was demoted to dwarf satellite.  Its orbit lies between those of Earth and Mars.

             1960-Saturday-  Age is not important unless you're a cheese…..Helen Hayes………British astronomer,  John Reynolds set the age of solar system at 4,950,000,000 years.............and we thought it didn’t look a day over 4,9490,000,000 year old! No, he didn’t count the candles on a birthday cake…. he detected the xenon isotope (note- isotopes are different forms of atoms of the same element. They have the same number of protons in their nuclei but a different number of neutrons ) of mass 129 trapped in meteorites, and from that discovery inferred that the extinct radioactive isotope iodine-129 (half-life 16 million years and probably generated in a pre-solar supernova) was present when the meteorites formed. This indicated that the meteorites appeared in the early history of the solar system. However, there is good news for those who wish to quibble as in 2009, according to research published online in the Dec. 31 issue of Science Express and in the Jan. 22 issue of Science magazine by Greg Brennecka, a graduate student in the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) at Arizona State University (ASU), the 238U/235U ratio can no longer be considered a constant in meteoritic material. Ah ha! Any deviation from this assumed value causes miscalculation in the determined Pb-Pb age of a sample, meaning that the age of the Solar System could be miscalculated by as much as several million years. Whew! Although this is a small fraction of the 4.57 billion year age of the Solar System, it is significant since some of the most important events that shaped the Solar System occurred within the first 10 million years of its formation. So nyah nyah nyah……take that John Reynolds. \

1969 – Thursday, There is nothing much wrong with the show, that a new book, new music, new lyrics, new settings, new direction, new choreography and a partially new cast would not quite possibly put right……..Clive Barnes…..The Editorial Board of the Gnus continues our occasional look at Broadway Bomb.  Today’s disaster is another of those “how could it fail?” entrys. All star cast, music by popular composers….The musical comedy, The Fig Leaves are Falling premiered.  It  fell after only 4 performances despite the very late sixtyish theme of  rampant sex in the suberbs. Directed by George Abbott with  stars Dorothy Loudon, David Cassidy (for you youngsters out there) and Jenny O’Hara and music by Albert Hague with book and  lyrics by Hello Muddah Hello Fadda himself, Alan Sherman couldn’t keep this literary leaf in the tree.

1971 – Saturday,  Winston tastes good like a cigarette should……….The  advertising ban on television commercials for tobacco products signed by avid pipe smoker, Richard Nixon on April1, went  into effect after being deferred for a day so that broadcasters could keep their commitments to advertisers during New Years’s bowl games the previous day. Both the ABC and CBS networks would later report that the ban resulted in a fifty per cent drop in advertising revenue, for an estimated loss of $220 million. Under the Fairness Doctrine, the FCC also banned anti-smoking advertisements from broadcast. Well that certainly helped. The last televised cigarette ad ran at 11:50 p.m. during The Johnny Carson Show on January 1, 1971.

            1974 –Wednesday- They say that Virginia is the mother of Texas. We never knew who the father was, but we kinda suspected Tennessee……….Tex Ritter kaput. The singing cowboy (he sang the title song in the great western High Noon) died of a heart attack at the age of 67. Sadly, his son, John, who became a significant television star in Three’s Company, also died of a heart attack in 2003.

             1974-Wednesday-  One time, the police stopped me for speeding, and they said, "Don't you know the speed limit is 55 miles an hour?" I said, "Yeah, I know, but I wasn't gonna be out that long……..Steven Wright……With the energy crisis in crisis mode thanks to OPEC, soon to be ex-President Richard Nixon, signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 mph….of course everyone really paid attention to that one.  The law required all of the states to comply with the 55 mph (90 km/h) limit in order to qualify for federal funds for highway projects. The law ended up being wildly unpopular, however, leading to the actual enforcement of the law being lax or practically non-existent.

1975  - Thursday, Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night
……The Four Lads…….Big doings at the U.S Commerce Department as the “U.S. Patent Office” was renamed “U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.”

1975-Thursday- Don't be concerned, it will not harm you
It's only me pursuing somethin' I'm not sure of
Across my dreams with nets of wonder
I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love
……..Bob Lind……………. Kenneth C. Brugger discovered the long-unknown winter destination of the monarch butterfly in the mountains of Mexico. They were driven to the mountains by high prices and pestiferous tourists in Acapulco and Cancun. Each fall, monarch butterflies, driven by a circadian (internal) clock, make sure their passports are in order head point south and flutter up to 2,000 miles to Mexico.          

1981 – Friday- The police’s chaotic and ineffective hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper was doomed by three fatal misconceptions – that he attacked only prostitutes, that a hoaxer with a Sunderland accent was the culprit, and that he only attacked in Manchester and Yorkshire …..Chris Clark and Tim Tate….Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, was finally captured by the police. Sutcliffe had murdered at least thirteen women, probably more,  since October 1975.  Like his namesake, Jack the Ripper, he murdered prostitutes but Sutcliffe later graduated to college students.  On this day, Police surveillance of prostitutes and their clients paid off. Sergeant Robert Ring and PC Robert Hydes recognized 24-year-old Olive Reivers, while on patrol. She and Sutcliffe were in a parked car. The police checked the plates on the car which proved to be stolen.  Lesson one – never let the suspect urinate.  Sutcliffe asked if he could get out to urinate and was given permission. He was then taken back to the police station for questioning, Sutcliffe again asked to go to the lavatory and was again given permission. When the police searched him they found a length of clothesline on him. The following day, a sergeant learned about Sutcliffe’s brief absence from the car to relieve himself, and went to look near the oil storage tank. In the leaves, he found a ball-headed hammer and a knife. Then he recalled Sutcliffe’s trip to the lavatory at the police station. In the cistern he found a second knife. When Sutcliffe was told that he was in serious trouble, he suddenly admitted that he was the Ripper, and confessed to the murders. No death penalty in Britain so this creature is serving a life sentence.

1994 -Sunday  Success and failure are equally disastrous......Tennessee Williams……The Chrysler Corporation, possibly under the influence of hallucinogens, introduced the conspicuously unaesthetic Neon, a compact car. You can add this mutant machine to the long list of reasons that American auto manufacturing fell  behind in the world market.  In fact, five years later Chrysler, now Daimler-Chrysler, discontinued the entire Plymouth line (Professor Sy Yentz’ first car was a 1958 Plymouth convertible with push button transmission) and Neon became the Dodge Neon. The Dodge Neon, no more successful than the Plymouth Neon, went to that big junkyard in the sky in 2005.

1995 –Monday  A hundred thousand million Stars make one Galaxy;
A hundred thousand million Galaxies make one Universe.
The figures may not be very trustworthy, but I think they give a correct impression…
.. Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington ……The most distant galaxy yet discovered was found by scientists using the Keck telescope in Hawaii. It is estimated to be 15 billion light years away and was cleverly named 8C 1435+63. That’s so we don’t mix it up with 8C 1435+62. We, on Earth have been visited by residents of that galaxy.  They supply the seemingly bottomless pool of bizarre humanlike beings used to populate reality TV shows.

            2004Friday- We were amazed by the feature-rich surface of the comet. It is highly complex. There are barn-sized boulders, 100-meter high cliffs, and some weird terrain unlike anything we've ever seen before. There are also some circular featuresthat look like impact craters as large as 1 km across…….. Donald Brownlee …….Stardust successfully flew past Comet Wild 2 (pronounced "Vilt-2"), collecting samples that it would return to Earth two years later.  Paul Wild (Astronomical Institute of Berne, Switzerland) had discovered the comet on January 6 and 8, 1978. The Stardust flew within 240 kilometers (149 miles) of the comet and caught sample of comet particles while taking detailed pictures of Wild 2's pockmarked surface and comet residents, the New York City Council.  The craft flew into a storm as flurries of comet dust pelted the its outer layers. At least half a dozen grains moving faster than bullets penetrated Stardust's outermost defenses. The craft's 16 rocket engines struggled to maintain course while a collector, about the size of a tennis racquet, caught some of the dust for return to Earth two years later.

2008  - Wednesday, This study highlights that you need to pay attention to your family history. With intervention to remove the polyps, the risk goes to near nothing ….Deb Neklason………. US researchers said a married couple who sailed to America from England around 1630 are the reason why thousands of people in the United States are at higher risk of a hereditary form of colon cancer.  Researchers from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at The University of Utah discovered a founder mutation—a mutation that has been traced from many individuals in the present-day population back to a common ancestor—which may contribute to a significant percentage of colon cancer cases in the United States.  The mutation in question provokes "attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis" (AFAP), which makes people more prone to developing polyps that can cause colon cancer.




106 B.CSunday- A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation…… Fortuna dies natalis!/Happy Birthday, Cicero, Roman statesman, orator, philosopher and author.  Marcus Tullius Cicero entered public life as a lawyer, became a politician. He was elected as Consul in 63 B.C and  turned back the Cataline Conspiracy, but then lost out in the power struggle following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.  He was killed in 43 B.C when the triumvirate of Marc Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus assumed power. Cicero had earned Antony’s lasting hatred with a series quick witted, scathing public attacks on him. Plutarch wrote that not only was he beheaded but the soldiers also cut off his hands as further punishment for having written things against  Marc Antony.

1496-Friday- The Book of the science of Mechanics must precede the Book of useful inventions. ……..An entry in Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebook mentioned that he had  unsuccessfully tested his flying machine.  From around 1482 to 1499 Leonardo worked for Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan and maintained his own workshop with apprentices in Milan.  The Duke kept Leonardo occupied painting, sculpting and designing elaborate court festivals, but he also put Leonardo to work designing weapons, buildings and machinery including the afore mentioned flying machines, geometry, mechanics, municipal construction, canals and architecture (designing everything from churches to fortresses). His studies from this period contain designs for advanced weapons, including a tank and other war vehicles, various combat devices, and submarines.

1521-Monday- Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.
Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.
What you say?
Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.
Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.
….Ray Charles……Pope Leo X (Giovanni Di Medici, son of Lorenzo -Il Magnifico- Di Medici of Florence), issued the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem, which excommunicated Martin Luther from the Catholic Church and contributed mightily to the start of Protestantism. Note; papal bulls received more attention than previously attempted papal chickens, papal marmosets and papal amoebas.    Luther reacted in a calm, rational manner. He had burned a previous Papal Bull (Exurge Domine- issued in June 1520) along with the book of church law, and many other books by his enemies on December 10, 1520. This “official final” papal bull of January 3, caused a conclusive and irrevocable break with Rome. And……on this day  in 1962 Pope John XIII excommunited Communist dictator/mass murderer, Fidel Castro.

1722 – Wednesday,  I have often seen, and have well described the Rock Goat. It is such a fine creature, that Solomon could not mean any other animal than this by the Doe, to which he compared his Bride in the Canticles…….. Grattis pŒ fšdelsedagen/Happy Birthday, Fredrik Hasselqvist, Swedish biologist and explorer born in Törnvalla.    Hasselqyist illustrated the work of Carolus Linneaus and spent his spare time looking for the “U” that should have followed the “Q” in his last name except in Sweden, they don’t. Mentored by Linneaus, Hasselqvist explored Palestine hoping to seek out and identify all the plants and animals of the Scriptures.

1749 – Tuesday, Vermont: Bet Ya Can't Name Two of our Towns …….Benning Wentworth issued the first of the New Hampshire Grants. This would eventually result in the  the establishment of Vermont.  Benning Wentworth was the Governor of New Hampshire from 1741 to 1766.  He wanted the land west of the Connecticut River to be part of his colony.  He granted this land to groups of settlers to start towns. These towns were called, yes,  the New Hampshire Grants.  In 1777 the New Hampshire Grants declared themselves a republic (New Connecticut), independent of both New York and New Hampshire; they entered the Union in 1791 under the name of Vermont. Oh yes, and Wentworth named the town of Bennington after himself.

1777-Friday- Parade with me my brave fellows, we will have them soon …..The Battle of Princeton, the mother of Lance Poofcakes IV  bopped the chief admissions officer in the head with her teacup in a rage over the level of acceptable SAT  scores and disagreement over her assertion that being drum major of the George III Marching Band was in fact community service.  The chief admissions officer then bashed Mrs. Poofcakes with a rolled up copy of Chauncy’s admissions essay entitled Grammatical Errors in the Declaration of Independence.   Actually the battle  was really a stroke of strategic genius by General George Washington (who had a lengthening record of losing battles) as he managed to evade a general engagement with General Charles Cornwallis while winning several encounters with the British rear guard, as it departed Princeton for Trenton, New Jersey.

1819 Sunday,  From the heights of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on us………Napoleon…….Buon Compeano/Happy Birthday, Charles Piazzi Smyth, Italian-Scottish astronomer born near Naples. Smyth was Astronomer Royal of Scotland and Professor of Astronomy at Edinburgh University. He surveyed Khufu's Great Pyramid located at Giza in Egypt in 1865.  Smyth also charted the spectra of the sun, aurora, zodiacal light, the atmosphere under different meteorological conditions, and—in the laboratory—of various luminous gases.

         1823 –Friday- Damn the torpedos, Full speed ahead!.....Admiral David Farragut… Happy Birthday, Robert Whitehead, British engineer born in Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire. Whitehead invented the modern torpedo. While working for the Austrian Navy at the time in 1864.  Whitehead designed a projectile that was driven by compressed air and was designed to strike a ship's unprotected hull below the waterline. By1870 he had managed to increase its speed to 7 knots and could now hit a target 700 yards away. The following year the British Navy purchased Whitehead's water borne missile. In 1896 he used a gyroscope to control the course of a torpedo.Although a star torpedo, a charge attached to a long pole and carried by a small boat, had been used during the American Civil War, Whitehead was the first to produce a self-propelling torpedo.

1861 –Thursday-  Oh what did Del-a-ware boy, what did Delaware
What did Del-a-ware boy, what did Delaware
She wore a brand New Jersey,
She wore a brand New Jersey,
She wore a brand New Jersey,
That's what she did wear
………….Perry Como…………..Delaware rejected a proposal to secede from the U.S.  This was just two weeks after South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union. Among the reasons for not seceding: it was such a  small state that no one would notice it was gone plus the Union couldn’t bear to lose attractions like  Trap Pond State Park, and Rehoboth Beach.  Actually, the legislature was controlled by Unionists.

            1868 –  You Meiji love you. I didn’t want to do it….apologies to  James V. Monaco, and Joseph McCarthy….. The Meiji Restoration in Japan followed the revolution in Japan that toppled the Tokugawa shogunate and "restored" imperial rule after a break of a mere seven hundred years. It would transform the country from a feudal into a modern state and result in the building of really small transistor radios and sneak attacks on foreign countries. The impetus for the coup was a fear by many Japanese that the nation's feudal leaders were ill equipped to resist the threat of foreign domination. Soon after seizing power, the Emperor Meiji and his ministers moved the royal court from Kyoto to Tokyo, dismantled feudalism, and enacted widespread reforms along Western models.

            1870-Monday- Like the folks you meet on
Like to plant my feet on the Brooklyn Bridge
What a lovely view from
Heaven looks at you from the Brooklyn Bridge
………Frank Sinatra……..Work began clearing the site for the Brooklyn Bridge, another wire suspension bridge, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn – which at that time were two separate cities. Ground was broken for work on the Manhattan and Brooklyn foundations and following a healthy chili 3 bean lunch, wind was broken too. The 3,000-ton pneumatic caissons – note; caissons are large, airtight cylinders in which workers cleared away layers of silt in an atmosphere of compressed air underneath the riverbed - were placed  78 feet below the river on the Manhattan side, and 44 feet below the river on the Brooklyn side. To expedite the descent of the caissons, dynamite was used for the first time in bridge construction. The foundations took three years to construct. The five boroughs of New York would not be incorporated until January 1, 1898.
In June 1869, the New York City Council and the Army Corps of Engineers had approved engineer John  Roebling's design for the bridge. Later that month, while examining locations for a Brooklyn tower site, Roebling's foot was crushed on a pier by an incoming ferry. Roebling later died of tetanus as a result of the injuries. Immediately following Roebling's death, his son, Washington, took over as chief engineer of the bridge. The job was completed on May 24, 1883. 21st Century New York costs and schedule would have the bridge costing a gazillion dollars with delays having it open early in the 22nd century.         

            1871 –Tuesday-  As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. …..Joan Dye Gussow…….Henry Bradley received the American patent for oleomargarine (margarine). Margarine was created in 1870 by Frenchman, Hippolyte Mège-Mouriez .  Mège-Mouriez (who received his own U.S patent in 1873).  He used margaric acid, a fatty acid component isolated in 1813 by Michael Chevreul and named because of the  pearly drops that reminded him of the Greek word for pearl -- margarites…..how appetizing!  There were many patents granted for various formulas and manufacturing techniques for margarine in the U.S. beginning in 1871. Feeling threatened by this food product, the dairy industry was able to have laws passed that prevented manufacturers from coloring the margarine. (The natural color of margarine is white). Bradley created a “new or improved lard or shortening for culinary use,” according to the patent, by using vegetable oils, beef tallow, and several buckets of water.

             1888-Tuesday-  But Then You Done Cut Off Both Of My Hands.
Now I Do My Drinking From Bamboo Straws,
Constantly Kicking At Tarantulas.
What Was I Thinking, Move To Baltimore?...
Oh Yeah, The Great Outdoors!
……. Fury………Grasping at straws.  Marvin Chester Stone
made his contribution to western civilization by inventing the artificial drinking straw. Pre Marvin– drinkers used natural rye grass straws.  Post Marvin, the artificial drinking straw made of manila paper and covered  with paraffin.  Stone was already a manufacturer of paper cigarette holders so he liked figuring out new things to do with paper.  Stone made his prototype straw by winding strips of paper around a pencil and gluing it together. He then experimented with paraffin-coated manila paper, so the straws would not become soggy while someone was drinking. He decided the ideal straw was 8 1/2-inches long with a diameter just wide enough to prevent things like lemon seeds from being lodged in the tube.

 1888 – Tuesday,  The possibility that a complete astronomical establishment might one day be planted on the summit seemed more a fairy tale than a sober fact. …….Captain Richard S. Floyd….. The refracting telescope at the Lick Observatory, measuring 91 cm in diameter, was used for the first time eliciting a shreak from exotic dancer, Fi Fi La Boom Boom, who was bathing at the time.  The telescope was quickly redirected skyward. It was the largest telescope in the world at the time.  James Lick one of  California’s wealthiest citizens, designated a sum of money for the construction of a telescope "superior to and more powerful" than any yet made.  The lens had been carried from its place in the observatory safe and installed in the telescope on December 31, but stormy weather prevented observing until, on January 3, a break in the clouds provided the first chance to put nearly fifteen years of planning and hard work to the test.

          1892Sunday-  The original 'Hobbit' was never intended to have a sequel - Bilbo 'remained very happy to the end of his days and those were extraordinarily long': a sentence I find an almost insuperable obstacle to a satisfactory link…..J. R. R. Tolkien…..Attention Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf,  and Gollum.  Happy Birthday, J.R.R Tolkien, English author, born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Hobbit, a single book, was turned into a money-grabbing movie trilogy.  Lord of the Rings was turned into 4 movies. 

            1897 –Sunday-  Ridin' along in my automobile
My baby beside me at the wheel
I stole a kiss at the turn of a mile
My curiosity runnin' wild
…….Chuck Berry………The first recorded use of the word automobile.  "The new mechanical wagon with the awful name automobile has come to stay..." New York Times However, the credit for the name automobile goes to a 14th Century Italian painter and engineer
, Francesco di Giorgio Martini.  Martini never built an automobile, nor did he build a martini,  but he did draw up plans for a man-powered carriage with four wheels. Martini devised the word automobile from the Greek word, "auto," (meaning self) and the Latin word, "mobils," (meaning moving

            1906-Sunday Stephen Hawking : Your theory of a donut shaped universe is intriguing Homer, I may have to steal it. Homer Simpson : Wow, I can't believe someone I never heard of is hanging out with a guy like me……..Happy Birthday, William W. Morgan, American astronomer born in Bethesda, Tennessee.  Morgan discovered the spiral pattern of the Milky Way. He also discovered the peanuts in Snickers. He investigated and catalogued star brightness, discovered "flash" variable stars (stars with rapidly changing luminosity), established the UBV (ultraviolet-blue-visual) magnitudes system for photometry, and made leading contributions to the development of morphological classification techniques for modern astronomy and the Yerkes system of galaxy. What, you may ask, is the Yerkes system?  It is designed to classify galaxies purely according to morphology, and in turn to isolate the physical differences between different classes of galaxies. It classifies galaxies with three parameters: 1. Concentration class -- how centrally concentrated is the galaxian light? 2. Form-family -- what is the fundamental type of galaxy?and 3. Shape -- does the galaxy appear circular or elliptical on the plane of the sky? There is a fourth but it concerns the origins of William Shatner and is too confusing.

             1919-Friday- If, as I have reason to believe, I have disintegrated the nucleus of the atom, this is of greater significance than the war…… New Zealand born physicist, Ernest Rutherford succeeded in splitting the atom. Well, he didn’t actually split the atom.  In 1911, Rutherford had developed the theory of atomic nuclei, that all the positive charge and most of the mass of an atom must be contained in a tiny nucleus at the atom's center. In 1919 he discovered that the nuclei of certain light elements, such as nitrogen, could be "disintegrated" by the impact of energetic alpha particles coming from some radioactive source, and that during this process fast protons were emitted. So, while not actually splitting  the atom (that would have produced fission and he hated to put squirming worms on a hook and go fission) he did scatter the parts of an atom, forcing protons out of the nucleus. In his own words, Rutherford was "playing marbles by bombarding light atoms with alpha rays". There is also argument as to when he did this, as it was not published until 1919 (the end of WWI), some reports and evidence show he did this work around 1917. Patrick Blackett later proved, with the cloud chamber, that the nitrogen in this process was actually transformed into an oxygen isotope, so that Rutherford was the first to deliberately transmute one element into another. Another major step towards atomic energy and another outcome of Einstein’s E=MC2 equation of 1905. One unexpected effect of the atom split involved an epidemic of effeminate men on television.

            1920-Saturday- He wasn’t a baseball player. He was a worldwide celebrity, an international star, the likes of which baseball has never seen since…. Ernie Harwell….. The Boston Red Sox officially announced the sale of pitcher/outfielder Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees……the deal had been secretly agreed to on December 26…….  Boston owner, Broadway show producer, Harry Frazee was trying to raise money for his production of  the show, No, No Nanette.  While he did produce the show he also produced the key piece to the greatest sports franchise of all time….the New York Yankees. Frazee rejected Yankee owners Til Houston and Jacob Ruppert’s offer to be “his best friend”, and insisted on money.  Frazee would be paid $25,000 up front for Ruth, along with three promissory notes of $25,000 each. Harry would also receive a loan of $300,000 against the mortgage at Fenway Park, making the final deal worth $400,000 -- nearly the full amount Ruppert and Huston had paid for the entire Yankees franchise just four years before. The $100,000 in cash was easily the most ever paid for a ballplayer, doubling the $50,000 the Indians had given the Red Sox for centerfielder Tris Speaker in 1916.

            1924 –Thursday-  King Tut (King Tut)
Now when he was a young man,
He never thought he'd see
People stand in line to see the boy king.
(King Tut) How'd you get so funky?
(funky Tut) Did you do the monkey?
Born in Arizona,
Moved to Babylonia (king Tut)
…….Steve Martin……….Two years after British archaeologist Howard Carter and his workmen discovered the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen near Luxor, Egypt, they found the greatest treasure of the tomb—a stone sarcophagus containing a solid gold coffin that held the mummy (but not the daddy) of the boy-king Tutankhamen. (Tut to his friends.)

1925Saturday,  I and I alone assume the political, moral and historical responsibility for all that has happened' …….Following his election as the Italian leader in 1922 Benito Mussolini the leader of the National Fascist Party in 1925 he declared he was taking dictatorial powers over Italy and thus ending elections. Mussolini had been installed as Prime Minister in a 1922 coup, and spent the next few years increasing the power of his Fascist Party, largely through political violence by Fascist thugs also known as the “Blackshirts” and today known on many university campuses as Humanities college students and their professors

            1929-Thursday-  I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done…Steven Wright……... The New York Yankees announced that they would put numbers on the back of the team uniforms (to help with player identification from the stands).  Babe Ruth - #3, Lou Gehrig, # 4, …………The initial numbers indicated batting order.  Gehrig batted third, Ruth, fourth.  Earl Coombs was the lead of batter and had #1, Bob Meusel followed Ruth in the batting order and wore # 5. The Yankees have retired quite a few numbers including all those between one and ten.

1933 –Tuesday Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't. ……Margaret Thatcher…….Minnie D. Craig became the first female elected as Speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives. In fact, she was the first female to hold a Speaker position anywhere in the United States. She also did some light cleaning and baked cookies for filibusters. No gimmicks here. No husbands going kaput and wife taking over legislative seat.  When North Dakota women became eligible to run for legislative office with the federal 19th Amendment in 1920, Minnie Craig successfully ran for the state House in 1922.  After six terms she was so well respected by her colleagues that they elected her Speaker.

1938 –Monday- I worked with the March of Dimes to enact legislation for a national birth defects prevention program to provide surveillance, research and preventive services aimed at reducing the rate of birth defects….Solomon Ortiz….The March of Dimes was established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The organization fights poliomyelitis, a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children. The virus is transmitted through contaminated food and water, and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system. Roosevelt himself had become a victim of polio in 1921.  The original name of the organization was the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.

1947 Friday,  Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself…..Mark Twain……Proceedings of the U.S. Congress were televised for the first time. Cameras were allowed into the House Chamber to telecast the opening of the 80th Congress. Viewers thrilled to the sight of Speaker Joseph W Martin Jr.of Massachusetts banging the gavel.  It also was the last such broadcast for more than three decades.  Perhaps this was a comment on what people saw?

1952  - Thursday, This is the city, Los Angeles, California. I work here, I carry a badge….Dum-de-dum-dum…. The television series Dragnet, which would become the first network-sponsored television program on December 24, 1953, premiered on NBC at 9:00 P.M.  Actually the first episode was December 16, 1951 but who’s counting. No Ben Alexander, no Harry Morgan as side kicks to Jack Webb’s Joe Friday. In the one, Barton Yarborough played Sgt. Ben Romero as he and Friday tracked down a drug ring. Yarborough died shortly after the episode was filmed. Barney Philips as Sgt. Ben Jacobs (there was a “Ben” thing going on) joined the fun for the next episode.

             1953 –Saturday-We may not imagine how our lives could be more frustrating and complex—but Congress can…..Cullen Hightower …… Frances Bolton and her son, Oliver, both from Ohio, became the first mother-son combination to serve at the same time in the United States Congress. Frances, elected as a Republican by special election, in 1940, to fill the vacancy caused by the kapution of her husband, Chester C. Bolton, was reelected to the fourteen succeeding Congresses and served from February 27, 1940, to January 3, 1969. Oliver served the 11 Congressional District in Ohio from 1953 – 1957 at which time he incurred the wrath of his mother for “staying out past 11 p.m” and was sent home and grounded for 2 weeks.

 1955 – Monday-  THE MOST EXCITING SERIAL EVER FILMED! (original posters)……..The world premiere of  Panther Girl from the Kongo starring  Phyllis Coates, as a female Tarzan in a a 12-Chapter Republic movieserial. “MAN-MADE MONSTERS TERRIFY THE JUNGLE as a mad scientist prepares to unleash a new fury on the world!”  Episodes included: 1. The Claw Monster 2. Jungle Ambush 3. The Killer Beast 4. Sands of Doom 5. Test of Terror 6. High Peril 7. Double Trap 8. Crater of Flame 9. River of Death 10.Blasted Evidence 11.Double Danger  and 12.House of Doom  Phyllis Coates appeared  in more television series that you can count including a turn as Lois Lane in the Adventures of Superman.  Coates would also star in the 1957, I Was a Teenage Frankenstein with the immortal Whit Bissell as Dr. Frankenstein.

1957 –Thursday-   Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do. ….Jean-Paul Sartre ……After ten years of research, the world’s first electric watch was introduced in Lancaster, PA by the Hamilton Watch Company.  The watch, which came with a really long cord …..it was battery powered.  The idea of a watch which never needed winding was very exciting to consumers. The Hamilton Electric was an instant hit even though the battery life was relatively short, so while winding was no longer necessary, frequent battery replacement, which was actually a more arduous inconvenience,  was.  But cheer up. The  500 proved to be prone to failure, making it less reliable than the standard wind-up watch. It was also obsolete by 1969, having been replaced by quartz watches.

1957 – Thursday- I'm walkin', yes indeed and I'm talkin'
About you and me, I'm hopin'
That you'll come back to me, yeah-yeah
I'm lonely as I can be, I'm waitin'
For your company, I'm hopin'
That you'll come back to me
……….Fats Domino……..While Hamilton was introducing the first electric watch, Antoine, Fats, Domino was recording I’m Walkin’. It would reach the Billboard Top Ten in April. A cover version of this song became Ricky Nelson's first hit after he performed it on The Adventures of Ozzie And Harriet. He covered it because it contained the only 2 chords he knew how to play.

            1959 –Saturday-  Eight stars of gold on a field of blue,
Alaska's flag, may it mean to you,
The blue of the sea, the evening sky,
The mountain lakes and the flowers nearby,
The gold of the early sourdough's dreams,
The precious gold of the hills and streams,
The brilliant stars in the northern sky,
The "Bear," the "Dipper," and shining high,
The great North Star with its steady light,
O'er land and sea a beacon bright,
Alaska's flag to Alaskans dear,
The simple flag of a last frontier…
…State song…….Alaska (49th state) entered the United States of America.  The territory had been purchased on
March 30, 1867 by William Seward from Russia for $7.2 million dollars, about two cents an acre. A check for $7,200,000.00 was issued on August 1, 1868 and made payable to Edouard de Stoeckl, the Russian Minister to the United States. Suggested state nickname, “The 372 people, all with  beards, you can see Russia, lots of moose, many bears and salmon, with entire state covered with snow all year round State”.  The state symbol(s)…and it may have more symbols than people, are flower forget-me-not , tree sitka spruce,  bird willow ptarmigan,  fish king salmon, song Alaska's Flag, gem jade, marine mammal bowhead whale, fossil (formerly Sen. Ted Stevens) woolly mammoth, mineral gold , sport  dog mushing – yes, apparently dog mushing is a sport.

1960 –Sunday-  Tell me, Connie, is your mother still dead? – Ed Sullivan talking with Connie Francis……..We note that  Bobby Darin and Connie Francis performed together on the Ed Sullivan Show. Also appearing were lip moving ventriloquists, Edgar Bergen, drummer Gene Krupa and actor Sal Mineo who just happened to drop by to plug the new movie, The Gene Krupa Story.   While Bobby sang Beyond the Sea and Connie sang Mamma, together they performed You Make Me Feel So Young and You’re the Top.  We wish they could have combined to sing Splish Splash , I was taking a bath  with  Where the Boys Are but that would have been anticipating the Village People.

1961 –Tuesday-  Don't get me wrong—I love nuclear energy! It's just that I prefer fusion to fission. And it just so happens that there's an enormous fusion reactor safely banked a few million miles from us. It delivers more than we could ever use in just about 8 minutes. And it's wireless……William McDonough……..Three technicians died at a U.S. plant in Idaho Falls in an accident at an experimental nuclear reactor. According to John McCone, Director of the Atomic Energy Commission and later Director of the C.I.A, radioactivity was  "largely confined"  to the reactor building. Mr. McCone thus set the pattern for intial description of all future nuclear accidents  “slight leak”, “quickly contained”, “itty bitty….we hardly knew it was there”, “leak? What leak?”, “a mere puff”, and “inconsequential exhaust teeny tiny crack”.

            1967-Tuesday- It may not be too late, whatever happens, if our President, Lyndon Johnson, knew the truth from me. But if I am eliminated, there won't be any way of knowing………Jack Ruby, usually described as the Dallas nightclub owner (but actually a pimp and small-time crook with mob connections) who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, died of cancer in a Dallas hospital. The Texas Court of Appeals had recently overturned his death sentence for the murder of Oswald and was scheduled to grant him a new trial.

            1970-Saturday- Here we come, walkin'
Down the street.
We get the funniest looks from
Ev'ry one we meet.
Hey, hey, we're the Monkees
And people say we monkey around.
But we're too busy singing
To put anybody down
……...A cataclysmic day for the music industry and world culture as  Davy Jones announced he was leaving the Monkees. Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith had already left the group so there really wasn’t much for Mr. Jones to leave. Basically, Micky Dolenz of Circus Boy fame was now the Monkees.  Of course everyone would rejoin the Monkees (Nesmith less than the others)  throughout the years whenever they needed money.  

1977I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees…. Steve Jobs…  Apple Computer was incorporated as the Apple Computer Corporation.  Mike Makkula jr. invested $250,000 in venture capital and became  the first chairman of Apple. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak also decided to move operations of the company outside of Steve Jobs parent’s garage and rent a building in Cupertino. By this time the third partner Ron Wayne Jr. had left the company because he wasn’t named Steve. They bought him out for $800.  The company was founded on April 1, 1976, and incorporated on January 3, 1977. Of course there The word "Computer" was removed from its name on January 9, 2007, as it shifted focus towards consumer electronics after the introduction of the iPhone.

1973 – Wednesday.  We plan absentee ownership as far as running the Yankees is concerned. We’re not going to pretend we’re something we aren’t. I’ll stick to building ships. ……  The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) got out of the baseball business this day by selling the New York Yankees to a 12-man syndicate headed by unhinged, convicted felon and life long bully, George Steinbrenner III for $8.8 million. Steinbrenner put up barely $100,000.  Forbes valued the Yankees at $3.2 billion 43 years later.

1976 Saturday,  Gonna keep on dancin' to the rock and roll
On Saturday night, Saturday night
Dancin' to the rhythm in our heart and soul
On Saturday night, Saturday night
I, I, I, I, I just can't wait, I, I, I, I got a date
……Replacing the Staple Singers’ Let’s Do it Again, the Scotland’s contribution to the “boy band” (before there were boy bands) legacy,  Bay City Rollers' Saturday Night  hit #1 on the Billboard Charts. Supremacy was short lived however as C.W McCall’s pre-rap sort of country rap, Convoy ascended to the top spot one week later. .

            1980-Thursday- It has always seemed miraculous to me that these colossal animals can move noiselessly through the bush, and are thus able to surround one without warning…….speaking about lions……Conservationist Joy Adamson, author of Born Free, featuring “Elsa the Lioness” was slewn in Kenya by a servant  who had been fired by Adamson.  He claimed she owed him money. Well that’s certainly a good way to collect.   Initially, superb forensics of the Kenyan police blamed her death on mauling by a lion. However, Adamson's body had been found on a road near her camp by her assistant, Pieter Mawson, and her injuries were caused by stabs from a sword like weapon and head injuries, not by a lion's fangs and claws. The “lion” had also opened her tent and stolen the contents of a trunk.

1983 Monday,    …….And so it seems that we have met before
And laughed before, and loved before
But who knows where or vent?
…..apologies to Rodgers and Hart…….The Pu’u O’o vent of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii began a state of almost constant eruption. The USGS Hawaii Observatory noted that it was the most voluminous outpouring of lava from the volcano's East Rift Zone in the past five centuries. By December 2012, flows had covered 125.5 km2 (48.4 mi2) with about 4 km3 (1 mi3) of lava, and had added 202 hectares (500 acres) of new land to Kīlauea's southeastern shore. Lava flows had also destroyed 214 structures, and resurfaced 14.3 km (8.9 mi) of highway, burying them with as much as 35
feet of the stuff.

1987  - Saturday,   Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I'm using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I'm happy with that….. The first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was “The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin who made a career of taking the basic song and butchering  it with over singing and the occasional shreak, because who cares about the music if we can listen to Aretha or the hundreds shreakers – see Mariah Carey - that followed, display her vocal range.  Although when she calmed down, as in Rock Steady or Freeway of Love, she could be quite good. The Editorial Board of the Gnus prefers Otis Redding’s Respect (it’s about the horns) to Franklin’s feminist anthem version. Franklin was one of what was the largest group of inductees ever. Other performers were B.B. King, Big Joe Turner, Bill Haley, Bo Diddley, Carl Perkins, Clyde McPhatter, Eddie Cochran, Jackie Wilson, The Coasters, Marvin Gaye, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, Smokey Robinson and Muddy Waters

1996 Wednesday, I really miss flip phones because at the end of a conversation you could always dramatically close them like bitch whatever…..numerous claimants to the quote……. The Motorola StarTAC, the first clamshell flip phone and one of the first mobile phones to gain widespread consumer adoption, weny on sale. Weighing in at 3.1 ounces, it  operated on GSM networks in the United States, included support for SMS text messaging, added digital functions like a contact book and was the first phone to support lithium-ion batteries. It followed a 1989 model called the MicroTAC, a "semi-clamshell."

            1998-Saturday Give a man a fish, and he can eat for a day. But teach a man how to fish, and he'll be dead of mercury poisoning inside of three years…..Charles Haas…… Taking irony to new heights, China announced that it would spend $27.7 billion, earned from sales of General Tso’s Chicken,   to fight erosion and pollution in the Yangtze and Yellow river valleys. Well that certainly worked out well.

            1999-Sunday-  We have your satellite if you want it back send 20 billion in Martian money. No funny business or you will never see it again…Reportedly seen on a wall in a hall at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, after losing contact with the Mars Polar Lander…… The U.S. Mars Polar Lander was launched for its trip to Mars. On December 3, 1999, the Mars Polar Lander was in the final minutes of slowing itself down, ready to make a self-controlled touch down. Then….Phhtt!  It was never heard from again. Nobody knows for sure exactly what happened. Attached to the Mars Polar Lander was a pair of small hitchhiking devices, the Deep Space 2 Mars Microprobes—named Scott and Amundsen—which were to be ejected at high altitude to fall and penetrate beneath the Martian surface. They too failed and went kaput. Lately suspicion for the disappearance has fallen on Martian immigrant with long beards on TV reality shows.  

            2000 –Monday- Dear Friends, I have been fortunate to draw Charlie Brown and his friends for almost fifty years. It has been the fulfilment of my childhood ambition. Unfortunately, I am no longer able to maintain the schedule demanded by a daily comic strip, My family does not wish "Peanuts" to be continued by anyone else, therefore I am announcing my retirement. I have been grateful over the years for the loyalty of our editors and the wonderful support and love expressed to me by fans of the comic strip. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy...how can I ever forget them...Charles M Schulz …….The last daily Peanuts comic strip was published. Creator, Charles Schultz retired and died shortly afterwards on Feb. 12, the day before his last Sunday comic strip would be  published. This  was basically a letter to his readers, with a picture of Snoopy, thanking everyone for their support.

2000 –Monday,  During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. ……The campaign website of Vice President  and Presidential hopeful, Al Gore displayed the date “Monday, January 3, 19100.” The mistake, a result, blamed on the barely existing Y2K Bug, was spotlighted in the media as being especially ironic when recalling Gore’s insistence that he was instrumental in the establishment of the internet and his attempts to project a tech-savvy image.

2005  - Monday, What's in a name? That which we call a rose.By any other name would smell as sweet…..    Juliet, Romeo and Juliet, II, ii, 1-2…… Baseballicaly, the Angels changed their name.  The Anaheim Angels announced that they would now be known as the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." Snobby social climbing  owner, Arte Moreno thought Los Angeles Anges had more caché  than Anaheim Angels.dentified as the "Los Angeles Angels.". However, in order for the Angels to play in Anaheim, the team was contractually obligated to have "Anaheim" somewhere in the title. The city of Anaheim sued them to return to the "Anaheim Angels and lost and shallow brains like those who televise baseball games began to refer to them as, yes, the Los Angeles Angels.  The Editorial Board of the Gnus sides with those who call them the  "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Orange County of California of America of Earth," Ironically, when the franchise initially began play in 1961, they had started out as the "Los Angeles Angels" and played at Los Angeles' Wrigley Field, really, which had actually been named after William Wrigley Jr. before the one in Chicago. Got it?

2009 –Saturday,  There are three eras of currency: Commodity based, politically based, and now, math based…. Chris Dixon…… The first block of the blockchain of the decentralized payment system Bitcoin, called the Genesis block, (A genesis block is the first block of a block chain.) was established at 18:15:05 GMT by the creator of the system, Satoshi Nakamoto. The announcement containe the text - The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.  Well that certainly helped a lot. Bitcoin is the world's first fully decentralized cryptographic financial network and the Editorial Board of the Gnus has no idea how it works. Here’s an explanation from the CoinDesk website - Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems.It’s the first example of a growing category of money known as cryptocurrency. Bitcoin’s most important characteristic, and the thing that makes it different to conventional money, is that it is decentralized. No single institution controls the bitcoin network. This puts some people at ease, because it means that a large bank can’t control their money. Glad we could clear that up for you.

2013 – Thursday,     The comets Have such a space to cross……..Sylvia Plath………….  Australian astronomers discovered a comet
named C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) discovered by: Robert H. McNaught at Siding
Spring Observatory. Scientists said it would pass close to   Mars
on October 19, 2014. On Oct 19 the comet’s closest approach to Mars was about
140,000 km.  That makes it the closest
pass a comet has ever made to any planet in known history. In astronomical
terms, this was incredibly close, just one third of the distance of that from
the Earth to the Moon which is over ten times closer than any known comet has
ever passed by our home planet. The proximity resulted in some upleasant side
effects here on Earth with the creation of Izombies who wander our streets and
stores and mass transit with eyes fixed to their phones oblivious to all that
goes on around them



-Look for the Quadrantid meteor shower tonight.  For those of you who wish to be outside on a freezing cold, windy, possibly snowy, Januay night, the source of the Quadrantid meteor shower was unknown until Dec. 2003 when Peter Jenniskens of the NASA Ames Research Center found evidence that Quadrantid meteoroids come from the beloved 2003 EH1, an "asteroid" that is probably a piece of a comet that broke apart some 500 years ago.

          46 BC –Thursday- Fortune, which has a great deal of power in other matters but especially in war, can bring about great changes in a situation through very slight forces……Julius Caesar…..In one of the vary rare defeats of his military career, Julius Caesar was bested by Titus Labienus  in the Battle of Ruspina.  Following his victory over Pompey at Pharsalus (during the Civil War) Caesar moved his army to Africa to secure Rome’s “breadbasket”. However, he lost most of his supplies during a storm at sea and the army was forced to forage for replacements.  While they were busy foraging, Labienus, a former general for Caesar, attacked. Caesar's own account of the battle describes Ruspina as a fighting retreat conducted in good order. Other accounts are less generous and estimate that the Romans may have lost as much as one third of their army in the action.

            1066 –Thursday- Oh, promises, promises
This is where those promises, promises end
…Burt Bachrach and Hal David…… Edward the Confessor  went kaput. In November, 1065, King Edward fell sick of what was described at the time as "a malady of the brain", which was possibly a stroke or a brain hemorrhage. The kapution of The Confessor, set off the chain of events that culminated in the Battle of Hastings  on October 14, 1066  after which Duke William the “Bastard” of Normandy became King William the “Conqueror” of England.  During the battle, King Harold Gowsinson (Edward’s successor) was killed and William, who claimed that the Confessor had named him Successor, became King, altering the course of history. 

1643Sunday- I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me……..Happy Birthday Isaac Newton, English physicist and greatest brain of the last millennium.  Wait! Wasn’t Newton born on Christmas Day?  Yes he was, but it was the Julian Calendar (Old Style, OS) developed by Julius Caesar.  In 1782, a newer, more accurate calendar, the Gregorian (Pope Gregory XII) Calendar (New Style, NS) was adopted – 10 days were added and Newton’s birthday moved up.  We note this because sources will list Newton’s birthday and Christmas Day and other sources as January 4.  Of course this opens a can of worms for all pre 1582 days so we’ll note Isaac’s discrepancy because of his greatness and just go with consensus sources for everyone else.  He invented calculus but didn’t tell anyone about it for 27 years. He also laid the foundation for the science of spectroscopy but kept that a secret for 30 years. Yes, in addition to being a genius he was a bit odd.  His master work, the Principia, explained mathematically, the orbits of heavenly objects and identified gravity as the moving force of the universe.  His three laws of motion were in the book.  It is a great book from the greatest of minds and it is so obtuse as to be virtually unreadable.  We’re waiting for the graphic novel version.

 1649 –Thursday…….. tyrant, traitor and murderer; and a public and implacable enemy to the Commonwealth of England……. The Rump Parliament voted to put Charles I on trial. Rump roast, rumpety rump, Rumplestilskin?  The only people allowed into Parliament were those who Cromwell thought supported the trial of the king. This Parliament was known as the “Rump Parliament” and of the 46 men allowed in (who were considered to be supporters of Cromwell), only 26 voted to try the king. Therefore even among those MPs considered loyal to Cromwell, there was no clear support to try Charles. Talk about fixed from the start, this was out of the original 135 “judges”.  The monarchectomy would occur on January 30th when Charles was beheaded.

1746 –Saturday, The American war is over; but this far from being the case with the American revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the drama is closed. It remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of government, and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens for these forms of government after they are established and brought to perfection….. Happy Birthday, Benjamin Rush American physician born in Byberry, near Philadelphia.  Rush is  most remembered as a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but he was also  the first professor of medical chemistry in America. He was active in combatting the yellow fever epidemics of the 1790s. Unfortunatley, he was also a great believer in blood letting as a treatment. Good for leeches, not so good for the patient. For his pioneering investigations in the field, Rush is regarded as the father of American psychiatry.  His Medical Inquiries and Observations upon the Diseases of the Mind, published in 1812, was the first and for many years the only American treatise on psychiatry.  As a member of the provincial conference in June 1776, he drafted a resolution urging independence and was soon elected to the Continental Congress, signing the Declaration of Independence with other members on August 2.

             1777-Saturday- Moon river, wider than a mile
m crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you
re goin’, I’m goin’ your way…….Johnny Mercer….. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!/Happy Birthday, German  banker and amateur astronomer, Wilhelm Beer, born in Berlin.  Beer built a private observatory with a 9.5 cm refractor telescope and working with Johann Heinrick Madler he made the first exact map of the moon in 1836. The four volume map, called the  Mappa Selenographical was the  first lunar map to be divided into quadrants. Beer and Johann Madler also made the first globe of Mars. They also calculated its rotation to be 24 hours 37 minutes 22.7 seconds long. This was within .01 second of what is known today.

1785 –Tuesday-  ….Skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony. ……Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!/Happy Birthday Jakob Grim,  German librarian; fairy tale author, born in  Hanau. With brother, Wilhelm.he wrote such popular fairy tales as  Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin and Abbott and Costello Meet the Kardashians. They are most famous for Kinder- und Hausmärchen  written in1812 – 15, known in English as Grimm's Fairy Tales, a collection of 200 tales taken mostly from oral sources.

            1809 –Wednesday-  Braille is knowledge, and knowledge is power…… Joyeaux Anniversaire/Happy Birthday, Louis Braille, French educator who developed a tactile form of printing and writing, known as eponymously as  Braille. It has been widely adopted by the blind. Braille himself was blinded at age 4 when an injury to one eye resulted in an infection that spread to the other eye.  When Braille was fifteen, he developed his system of reading and writing by means of raised dots. Braille is a series of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are blind or whose eyesight is not sufficient for reading printed material. Teachers, parents, and others who are not visually impaired ordinarily read braille with their eyes. Braille is not a language,  it is a code by which languages such as English or Italian may be written and read. The writing system he invented evolved from the tactile Ecriture Nocturne (night writing) code invented by Charles Barbier for sending military messages that could be read on the battlefield at night, without light. Braille published the first-ever braille book in 1829.  In 1837, he added symbols for math and music. Braille was just 43 when he died of tuberculosis in 1852.  The use of Braille began to spread worldwide in 1868, when a group of British men, now known as the Royal National Institute for the Blind, took up the cause.

 1813-Monday-  I have no intention of becoming a shorthand author. ……And speaking of systems of writing (see Louis Braille 1809 above), Happy Birthday, Sir Issac Pitman, English inventor born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.  Pitman invented the  Phonetic Shorthand System that we all know and love….even though voice recorders have now moved to the office fore.  Pitman’s system, published in 1837, is phonetic: it records the sounds of speech rather than the spelling. For example, the sound [f] in the words famous, elephant and rough is written in the same way for each word.  Vowel sounds are optional and are written with small dots, dashes or other shapes next to the main strokes.  This saves time in writing when the consonants alone make clear what the word is.  This is known as a vowel movement.

            1846-Sunday Happy Birthday, Edward Hibberd Johnson American electrical engineer ,inventor, and associate of  Thomas Edison. Johnson was also a partner with Edison in what would become the General Electric Company.   Johnson created the first electric lights on a Christmas tree on Dec, 22, 1882…. hand-wired with 80 red, white, and blue electric light bulbs. He spent lots of time trying figure out which bulb was “out” thereby causing the entire string to malfunction …..wait…that wasn’t Johnson, that was Professor Sy Yentz on many a December night during the 1950’s and 60’s. Anyway, from that point on, electrically illuminated Christmas trees, indoors and outdoors, grew with mounting enthusiasm in the United States and elsewhere. In 1895, U.S. President Grover Cleveland Grover Cleveland proudly sponsored the first electrically lit Christmas tree in the White HouseWhite

            1847-Monday-  Hit me with your best shot. Fire away…….Pat Benatar…..Samuel Colt, who had invented and patented the repeating revolver pistol in 1836  won a contract to provide the U.S. government with 1,000 of his .44 caliber revolvers. Colt had to ask for production help from Eli Whitney, Jr., son of the famous inventor of the cotton gin. Whitney Jr. who had a factory in Connecticut where the order was completed and shipped by mid-1847. Colt began mass-producing his popular revolvers and handguns hence forth would play a significant role in the history of both the American West and the nation as a whole.  Unfortunately, they still do.  Caliber relates  to the bore of a gun (or its ammunition) that measures forty-four hundredths of an inch in diameter; "a .44 caliber pistol"…the bigger the number, the bigger the bullet. 

            1863-Sunday-  As the Civil War raged, four-wheeled roller skates were patented by James Plimpton of New York. Plimpton’s improvement was a major breakthough in skating.  Without this technological leap, the 1980 skating movie Xanadu starring Olivia  Newton-John and an ancient Gene Kelly, who was possibly looking for puddles to dance in or hide in if he ever saw this turkey,  would never have been possible.  Plimpton’s skates had two parallel sets of wheels, one pair under the ball of the foot and the other pair under the heel. The four wheels were made of boxwood and worked on rubber springs. Ball bearing wheels came along in 1884. However we go back few years for the best innovative skating debut. It came  came early in the evolution of skates in 1760 as inventor, Joseph Merlin, attended a masquerade party in London wearing one of his new inventions, metal-wheeled boots. Joseph wished to make a grand and memorable entrance so he added the unique feature of rolling in while playing the violin. Lining the huge ballroom was a very expensive wall-length mirror. The fiddling skating Merlin was unable to brake (hadn’t thought of that part) and the mirror was doomed as Merlin crashed solidly into it.

1865 – Wednesday,  One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute.William A. Feather ….The New York Stock Exchange open its first permanent headquarters near Wall Street in New York City at 10-12 Broad, near Wall Street in New York City. The building remained the Exchange until 1903, when it moved to a bigger digs at 18 Broad Street. The 18 Broad Street address is still used today.  Since 1868, membership on the NYSE has been a valuable property. New members must purchase existing seats, which are limited to 1,366.

1884 –Friday- Turn me loose, turn me loose I say
This is the first time I have felt this way
Gonna get a thousand kicks or kiss a thousand chicks
So turn me loose
…….Fabian…….The Fabian Society was founded in London.  The members felt that Fabian’s songs, Turn Me Loose and Like a Tiger represented an evolutionary musical step forward from the mundane works of Mozart and Beethoven. Or….. Edith Nesbit and Hubert Bland decided to form a socialist debating group with their Quaker friend Edward Pease (brother of Warren Pease). They were also joined by Havelock Ellis and Frank Podmore and on this day in 1884 they decided to call themselves the Fabian Society. Podmore suggested that the group should be named after the Roman General, Quintus Fabius Maximus, who advocated the weakening of the opposition by harassing operations rather than becoming involved in pitched battles.

1885 –Sunday-  I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix…….Arthur Conan Doyle …..Dr. William Grant of Davenport, Iowa performed the first successful appendectomy on this day. The operation was performed on Mary Gartside.  Yes, Ms. Gartside lost her appendix but she still had her table of contents.  An appendectomy is the removal by surgery of the appendix, the small worm-like appendage of the colon (the large bowel). An appendectomy is performed because of probable appendicitis, inflammation of the wall of the appendix generally associated with infection.

            1896 –Saturday-  Utah! People working together
Utah! What a great place to be.
Blessed from Heaven above.
It's the land that we love.
This is the place!

Utah! With its mountains and valleys.
Utah! With its canyons and streams.
You can go anywhere.
But there's none that compare.
This is the place!
…….State Song…….Utah, the “Beehive State” entered the Union.
 The state gets its name from the Native American tribe, the Utes, (note, “utes” are also children and teenagers who live in Brooklyn, NY) and the territory was called the land of the Utes, hence Utah.  Originally settled by Indians, explored by the Spanish and used by “mountain men” hunters, the territory boomed in 1847, with the Mormons, seeking a religious sanctuary in the remote West. They immigrated in large numbers and laid out communities, built homes and churches, established farms supported by an irrigation system and had lots of wives. Utah achieved territorial status in 1850, and by the time of statehood in 1896, the total population included a quarter of a million people, assorted buffalo, rattlesnakes, mountain goats, and lots of sand. The state song is the catchy, Utah, We Love Thee. The Utah state bird is the California sea gull (you figure that one out) , the flower is the sego lily, the tree is the blue spruce, and the state rock is coal (yes, coal).

1900 – Thursday, I was determined that my secret agent should be as anonymous as possible. Even his name should be the reverse of the kind of 'Peregrine Carruthers' whom one meets in this type of fiction. At that time, one of my bibles was and still is 'Birds of the West Indies' by James Bond, and it struck me that this name, brief, unromantic and yet very masculine, was just what I needed and so James II was born. …..Ian Fleming……Happy Birthday, James Bond, American ornithologist born in Philadelphis. He was the leading authority on birds of the West Indies for more than half a century and is best known among scientists for proving that birds of the Caribbean originated in North America, not South America.  More famously, his book, The Birds of the West Indies written in 1936 was seen by author Ian Fleming, who just happened to be an avid bird watcher. Fleming later told Bond’s wife that he named his James Bond thrillers hero came from the cover of that book.

1904-Monday- From beasts we scorn as soulless,
In forest, field and den,
The cry goes up to witness
The soullessness of men
…..M. Frida Hartley ….. Thomas Edison’s movie crew filmed the electrocution of an elephant. The ill-fated Topsy, was had to be euthanized by its owners after she killed three men in as many years. The third man was a genius who fed her a lit cigarette. The event took place in front of an audience of 1500 people at Coney Island, NYC. They had first attempted to execute the elephant with cyanide filled carrots.  When that didn’t work, Edison was the consultant chosen to arrange the electrocution death but was not present at the execution. After brief prayers with an elephant priest and a last meal of grasses, small plants, bushes, fruit, twigs, tree bark, and roots. After her death, Topsy's skin was sent to the Museum of Natural History, her bones given to her owner, and her legs made into umbrella stands.  August 7, 1905 Tospy’s skull was exhumed. Her skull, weighing 300 pounds, was buried behind of the Luna Park Stables. It was found after three newly arrived elephants sensed her remains and refused to walk in the area. After the skull was removed, the new elephants proceeded  unhindered.   

            1936 –Friday- The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl….Dave Barry….Billboard magazine published its first pop-music chart based on national sales figures. The song, Stop! Look! Listen! by jazz violinist Joe Venuti was #1 on the first chart. Joe Venuti was one of the first jazz violinists, and would continue playing up until his death in 1978……which, after all, would be a hindrance on playing……. He was also a major influence on guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stéphane Grappelli in France. The first number one song of what is now known as the  Hot 100 was Poor Little Fool by Ricky Nelson on August 4, 1958.

 1940 –Thursday- If it weren't for electricity we'd all be watching television by candlelight. …..George Gobel…….Happy Birthday, Brian Josephson, British physicist born in Cardiff. Also a great day for eponymous science laws as Josephson was the British physicist who discovered the Josephson effect in 1962. The Josephson effect is  a flow of electric current as electron pairs, called Cooper Pairs, (see?  Eponymous again, Leon Cooper) - between two superconducting materials that are separated by an extremely thin insulator. This arrangement is called a Josephson Junction. In the immortal words of Shorty Long, there was a Function at the Junction.

1941 Saturday-  That was weawwy an awfuwwy good weg of wamb……Elmer Fudd….. “Waskily Wabbit”….The animated short Elmer's (Elmer being Elmer Fudd) Pet Rabbit was released. Elmer Fudd spots Bugs in a pet shop window, but after he takes him home Bugs heckles him and complains about having to eat carrots. This was the second appearance of Bugs Bunny but the first to have his name on the title. Bugs's debut as a star was the short A Wild Hare, where he first uttered his trademark line, "What's up, Doc?" Arthur Q.Bryan provided the voice for Elmer.  The voice of Bugs, as well as Elmer (after 1959) was provided by the great Mel Blanc.  Other Mel Blanc voices included:Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Tweety Bird, Yosemite Sam, Pepe LePew, Sylvester the cat, Foghorn Leghorn, Henery Hawk, Wile E. Coyote Marvin the Martian, Road Runner The Tasmanian Devil, and Speedy Gonzalez.

1948 – Sunday,  I think when the people in Burma stop thinking about whether or not they're free, it'll mean that they're free…..Aung San Suu Kyi……. Burma became an independent nation no longer under control of the British. The architect of Burma's independence, Aung San was able to negotiate an agreement in January 1947 with the British, under which Burma would be granted total independence from Britain.  Well that’s certainly worked out well.  Aung San didn’t even get to see Independence Day as he and members of his newly-formed cabinet were assasinated when an opposition group with machine guns burst into a meeting A member of Aung San's cabinet, U Nu, was delegated to fill the position suddenly left vacant by Aung San's death. A Burma was finally granted independence on January 4, 1948, at 4:20am - a moment selected most auspicious by an astrologer.

1950 –Wednesday-  Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.
…..Corinne Bailey Rae ……Record company RCA Victor, the one with the dog listening to “his master’s voice” on the gramophone, announced it would start manufacturing long-playing (LP) records. A bit of history thanks to thevintagerecord website…. In 1948, the 12" (30 cm) Long Play (LP) 33⅓ rpm microgroove record had been introduced by the Columbia Record at a dramatic New York press conference. One side of a 12-inch LP played for 23 minutes, compared with four minutes for one side of a standard 78 rpm record. In 1930, RCA Victor launched the first commercially-available vinyl long-playing record, marketed as "Program Transcription" discs. The commercial rivalry between RCA Victor and Columbia Records led to RCA Victor's introduction of what it had intended to be a competing vinyl format, the 7" (17.5 cm) / 45 rpm Extended Play (EP). For a two-year period from 1948 to 1950, record companies and consumers faced uncertainty over which of these formats would ultimately prevail in what was known as the "War of the Speeds"- a forerunner of the Beta vs. VHS brouhaha. “Vinylly”, the 12" (30 cm) / 33⅓ rpm LP prevailed as the predominant format for musical albums, and the 7" (17.5 cm) / 45 rpm EP or "single" established a significant niche for shorter duration discs typically containing one song on each side and on this day RCA decided to go with the flow.

1955 – Tuesday, I'm sorry, so sorry
That I was such a fool
I didn't know
Love could be so cruel

You tell me mistakes
Are part of being young
But that don't right
The wrong that's been done
…..Brenda Lee…… The U.S. paid out $2,000,000 towards the loss of life and property which occurred on March 1st, 1954  at the Pacific archipelago of Bikini, part of the Marshall Islands.. That hydrogen bomb experiment on March 1, 1954 killed one fisherman and sickened many others.  Fish were contaminated, Godzilla attacked Tokyo……and one piece bathing suits were torn asunder creating the, bikini.

1958-Saturday- The new socialist society turns even the most daring of man's dreams into a reality…..TASS press statement regards Sputnik 1, man's first satellite in orbit, 4 October 1557.  ……..Sputnik 1, launched on October 4, 1957 , was burned up on re-entry to the atmosphere.  Also see Explorer, Jan. 31, 1958 .The orbit was observed to decay 92 days after launch  after having completed about 1400 orbits of the Earth. The orbital apogee (highest point) had declined from 947 km after launch to 600 km by December 9. The circle kept getting smaller. Gravity wins again. Sputnik did, however bring back some microbes that spread among the human population and resulted in the devolution of humans into the beings who carelessly leave their shopping carts in the middle of store parking lots.

1959  Sunday,  who knows if the moon's
a balloon,coming out of a keen city
in the sky--filled with pretty people?
( and if you and I should
get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we'd go up higher with all the pretty people
……E.E Cummings…….Luna 1, launched on January 2, became the the first artificial satellite to leave Earth orbit. It was supposed to crash into the moon but missed slightly as it  passed within 5995 km of the Moon's surface after 34 hours of flight. It went into orbit around the Sun, between the orbits of Earth and Mars. Radio signals from the craft decomposed in Earth’s atmosphere, were inhaled by succeptible humans and eventually mutated into humanoids who toss trash from car windows.

            1960 –Monday- Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know. I had a telegram from the home: 'Mother passed away. Funeral tomorrow. Yours sincerely.' That doesn't mean anything. It may have happened yesterday. ……Albert Camus, L’Etranger….French existentialist author Albert Camus mort in an automobile accident near Sens, France. The driver, his friend and publisher, Michel Gallimard was also killed.  In ironic existentialism, the 46 year old Camus had an unused train ticket in his pocket.  Evidently, he accepted the car ride instead.  Among his best-known novels are The Stranger, 1942 and The Plague,1947, and The Myth of  Sisyphus, a book of essays.   He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.  

1960 – Saturday,  Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
I fell in love with a Mexican girl
Night-time would find me in Rosa's cantina
Music would play and Felina would whirl
……..Replacing Frankie Avalon’s insipid Why, Marty Robbins' El Paso hit #1 where it would reside for two weeks before Johnny Preston’s Running Bear ( you probably won’t hear it anymore since it is probably banned now by the Thought Police) landed at # 1.

1962-Thursday- A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat…..unknown…….In an age where automated trains are quite common, the first automated subway train in NYC ended as a failure.  This was the 42nd Street Shuttle running from Grand Central Station to Pennsylvania Station on 34th street via the IRT line.  The experiment came to an end in 1964 when a small but intense fire engulfed a manually operated train and melted it, yes melted it, away. The automated train was sitting on track 4 and was significantly damaged. It never went back into operation. The next attempt was to create automated passengers who would not toss litter on the tracks or in the trains and would be courteous to fellow while riding the trains.  That too, ended in failure.

1964 –Saturday- It wasn’t as dark and scary as it sounds. I had a lot of fun….killing people is a funny experience……Albert DeSalvo…..The final victim of the Boston Strangler, Mary Sullivan, was raped and strangled to death in her Boston apartment. The killer left a card reading "Happy New Year" leaning against her foot. The ‘Strangler”,  Albert DeSalvo, had terrorized the city between 1962 and 1964, raping and killing 13 women. DeSalvo confessed to the killings but was in fact, never charged with being the Boston Strangler. He was however, sentenced to life imprisonment in 1967 for sex offenses and robberies committed before the stranglings. DeSalvo was found kaput in his cell at Walpole State Prison in 1973. He had been stabbed through the heart.

1965 – Monday, welfare is a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit…..Franklin Delano Roosevelt…. President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed his "Great Society" during his State of the Union address.  Well that certainly worked out well. the total cost of which has been the sum of $22 trillion in current dollars, ... and still counting….cha ching…..The $22 trillion figure is “three times the amount of money that the government has spent on the military. 

1967 -  Wednesday, Donald was going into the unknown and he was well aware of the risks….Norman Buckley…… Donald Campbell died instantly when his jet-powered boat, the Bluebird K7, left the water and became airborne at a speed over 300 mph.  It then somersaulted, and crashed on the water surface, and broke apart. After a famous record-breaking career on land and water, he was trying to break his own previous water speed record of 276 mph.  He was just 200 yards (183m) from the end of the second leg of his attempt when the accident happened.  Campbell's body was not recovered until 2001 - 34 years after his death.

1970 –Sunday- At heart I cannot accept that I am a well-known rock 'n' roll star and one of the greatest drummers in the world…..Keith Moon …….Whoops! Keith Moon, drummer  of the Who accidently ran over and killed his chauffeur. Some versions have his wife, Kim at the wheel. Moon, with his wife and several friends, had attended the opening of the Red Lion, a pub in Hatfield, Leaving the club, Moon’s party entered the Bentley, which was surrounded by the patrons, who were rocking it and throwing coins, preventing it from leaving. Driver, Neil Boland left the car and confronted the skinheads in front of the car’s hood. Moon, who didn’t drive even when sober, nonetheless tried to save his friends and drove away to safety. Oy gevalt!    Neither he nor the other passengers realized that as the Bentley moved forward, Boland wound up underneath the car and was dragged down the road. In 1978 Moon died of a drug overdose. A year later, a Who concert tragedy in Cincinnati, Ohio, ranked as the most horrific rock concert incident in the United States. Eleven rock fans were crushed to death and scores injured.

1974 – Friday,  ……..Incurring these adverse consequences by complying with your subpoena would, on the other hand, serve no legislative purpose which I can discern. I recognize that in the current environment, there may be some attempt to distort my position as only an effort to withhold information, but I take this position to protect the Office of the President against incursion by another Branch, which I believe, as have my predecessors in office, is of utmost constitutional importance.Accordingly, in order to protect the fundamental structure of our government of three separate but equal branches, I must and do respectfully decline to produce the materials called for in your subpoenas.Sincerely, Richard Nixon……Letter to Senatory Sam Ervin, Chairman, Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities……..  Richard Nixon had received a subpoena which required him to show tapes which would lead to evidence regarding 1972 burglary of the Democratic National Headquarters located in the Watergate complex. Today, Nixon refused to hand over tapes of white house conversations that had been subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee. After the appointment of a new special prosecutor in the case, Nixon eventually agreed to release edited transcripts of the tapes, claimed that sensitive national security information needed to be erased. When the Supreme Court ruled that the executive privileges of the tapes were in fact void, Nixon was forced to surrender the materials.

1976 – Sunday,  You write a hit the same way you write a flop…… Alan Jay Lerner ……The Gnus continues its survery of Broadway Bombs.  Today Yul Brynner starred in the first and only performance of Home Sweet Homer at the Palace Theater.  This was a musical based on final chapters of The Odyssey, …really….Evidently, composer Mitch Leigh, figured the idea of a musical worked with Man of La Mancha so why not The Odyysey.  Yul played Odysseus and Joan Diener, who had been a  success in La Mancha, played Penelope. The musical was designed as a vehicle for Yul Brynner, who was anxious to duplicate his success in The King and I more than 20 years earlier. The original book and lyrics were by author Erich Segal, the author of  the treacly Love Story It opened and closed in one afternoon-- not even making it to the Sunday evening performance.

1981 –Sunday  This show’s magic tricks were actually pointless from both an artistic and commercial standpoint…..Frank Rich……...Oh boy!  I just got two tickets to the Broadway show, Frankenstein starring John Carridine and Diane Weist, for January 5. What’s that? But it just opened on this day, January 4.  It closed on the same day?  Yeesh. Anyone want two tickets to Frankenstein?  Considered at the time the most expensive flop ever produced, Frankenstein lost over $2 million dollars. The disastrous fate of the show was particularly astounding because of its big-budget nature: the show utilized huge sets and special effects that were meant to enhance the production and make it a hit. Frank Rich wrote in his New York Times review that:

1986Saturday,  Say you, say me; say it for always
That's the way it should be
Say you, say me; say it together
…….In another of those inexplicable musical syrup periods,  Say You Say Me by Lionel Richie was in the middle of a month long stay at the top of the Billboard Charts. It had replaced Broken Wings by Mr. Mister. Richie’s opus would be knocked from the top spot by the truly frightful, That’s What Friends are For by Dionne Warwick and featuring Gladys Knight, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder

 1999 –Monday-  Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons……. Woody Allen ……..oodbye, au revoir, auf wiedersehen , arrivederci  to the Austrian schilling, Belgian franc, Finnish markka, French franc, German mark, Italian lira, Irish punt, Luxembourg franc, Netherlands guilder, Portugal escudo and Spanish peseta. Europe was united with a common currency when the "euro" made its debut as a financial unit in corporate and investment markets.  Euro cash, decorated with architectural images, symbols of European unity, pictures of Euro Trash, and member-state motifs, would go into circulation on January 1, 2002.  Well that certainly worked out well.

            1999-Monday- You can't legislate against stupidity……Jesse Ventura……In yet another chapter of the multi volume  book of Never Underestimate the Stupidity of Voters, former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was sworn in as governor of Minnesota. As the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court approached, bible in hand, Jesse drop kicked him, climbed the top of the ropes and dove on him, applied Killer Kowalski’s infamous “claw hold”, and then tagged partner Hulk Hogan to complete the tag team match. Minnesotans would later top themselves by electing a comedian to the United States Senate.

            2004 –Saturday- I'm moving to Mars next week, so if you have any boxes... Steven Wright …..The first of the two Mars Rover landers, Spirit, landed on Mars.  Opportunity  would follow on January 24.  They had been launched in June and July 2003 and landed on opposite sides of the Red Planet. Spirit landed in Gusev crater, a 170 km diameter crater which formed three to four billion years ago. A channel system drains into the crater that likely carried liquid water, or a combination of water and ice, at some point in Mars' past They returned to Earth in 2005 and attacked Tom Cruise’s house in Staten Island launching the War of the Worlds.   After years of productive discoveries, the Martian weather, particularly dust storms, took its toll.  The promised warranty on the Spirit rover was 90 Martian days (or "sols"). It ended up lasting more than 2,200 sols and gave a window into Mars' early and wet history.

            2010 –Monday- I'm about four skyscrapers behind…….Philip Johnson…..The Burj Dubai, the latest, “tallest building in the world”, officially opened. Immediately succumbing to skyscraper identity crisis, the building was renamed the the Burj Khalifa - or Khalifa Tower.  The  height was officially given as 828 meters or 2717 feet.  It is 1,046 feet higher than the world's previous highest occupied building, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan, and 654 feet higher than the tallest man-made structure, the KVLY-TV tower in North Dakota, America, a broadcasting mast. It contains more than 1,000 apartments, an Armani-branded hotel, and offices up to the 160th floor.  There are another forty floors presumably for the storage of camels, sand, and oil wells. We’d list the top 10 but by the time you read this there will be a new top 10. So take a look at the Skyscraper Center website to keep on top of things.

2012 Wednesday, ……Just you stood there only in your underwear.
Do, do do do do. Do, do. Do, do. Do, do, do, do, do. Do, do. Do, do.
Oh yeh I want to see you. Want to see you only in your underwear. Har
. ….Pulp…… After a vigorous campaign for their removal, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, royally decreed that men would  no longer be allowed to sell female underwear in lingerie shops. The country had previously only allowed men to work as shop keepers, but after women complained that male lingerie shop keeps made them uncomfortable, a new law was brought in, banning male lingerie shop workers and allowing women to take their place.



1477 –Friday-  
You are an angel, angel divine
You're sent from heaven
You're really mine
Oh darling, oh darling
Oh my darling
Lorraine ….The Knockouts……
The Battle of Nancy, the final and decisive battle of the Burgundian Wars.  Burgundy would now be part of France. The  Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, was conducting a siege of  Nancy, the capitol of Lorraine (Nancy? Lorraine?).  Rene, the Duke of Lorraine, with 10,000 of his own troops and 10,000 Swiss mercenaries, attacked the outnumbered Burgundians.  Charles was slewn, his mutilated body was found three days later, and Burgundy (and its delicious wine) would become the eastern part of France.  

1531  - Thursday,    At the request of the Queen, forbids Henry to remarry until the decision of the case, and declares that if he does all issue will be illegitimate. Forbids any one in England, of ecclesiastical or secular dignity, universities, parliaments, courts of law, &c., to make any decision in an affair the judgment of which is reserved for the Holy See. The whole under pain of excommunication. As Henry would not receive a former citation, this is to be affixed to the church gates of Bruges, Tournay, and other towns in the Low Countries, which will be sufficient promulgation. Rome, 5 Jan. 1531……… Pope Clement VII forbade English king Henry VIII to get married to Anne Boleyn. Actually it was a warning letter, a breve, that authoritatively warned of excommunication if Henry proceeded to a second marriage (to that vixen, Ann Boleyn) before the existing marriage state was decided. Ann was not mentioned by name and the warning differed from an earlier breve of March 7, 530 only in that the Pope was indicating he knew of Henry`s intention to seek a decision elsewhere. 

            1643 –Monday- Our D-I-V-O-R-C-E; becomes final today
Me and little J-O-E will be goin' away
I love you both and this will be pure H-E double L for me
Oh, I wish that we could stop this D-I-V-O-R-C-E.
…..Tammy Wynette……Days of Our Pilgrims…… Speaking of divorce (see above) on a social note, we have the first record of a legal divorce in the colonies. Anne Clarke of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was granted a divorce from her adulterous husband, Denis Clarke, by the Quarter Court of Boston, Massachusetts. Denis Clarke, a “himbo” admitted to abandoning his wife, with whom he had two children, for another woman, with whom he had another two children…..he was a 21st century athelete kind of guy…. He also refused to return to his original wife, thus giving the Puritan court no option but grant a divorce to his wife, Anne. Didn’t we see this on? No word about a pre-nuptial agreement      

1665 – Thursday,  ….there is nothing that occurs in Europe worth be known by men of letters that you cannot learn from this Journal…….Over the years journals of scientific research have become the primary means of communication of scientific research results. They monitor and record the progress of science, especially from the mid-twentieth century. Today, the first edition of the first issue of the first scientific journal in history, Journal des Sçavans  was published as a twelve page quarto pamphlet in Europe. The journal, founded by Denis de Sallo under the pseudonym, le Sieur de Hedouville, appeared only weeks before the publication of the first issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London .,

            1759 –Friday-  It's a nice day to start again
It's a nice day for a white wedding
It's a nice day to start again
……Billy Idol……..Still another social note (see 1643 above) George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, the twenty eight year old widow of wealthy Daniel  Parke Custis. The bride was resplendent in Vera Wang, the groom’s tuxedo was by Calvin Klein.  The reception was held at Guido’s Catered Affairs of Mount Vernon with music by the French & Indian War Kazoo Ensemble. After George Washington went kaput  in 1799, Martha assured a final privacy by burning their letters. She died of "severe fever" on May 22, 1802.

1769 – Thursday,  The business I am here about has turned out rather successful; that is to say, the fire engine I have invented is now going, and answers much better than any other that has yet been made ……James Watt……Thanks to the financial support of industrialist John Roebuck, Scotsman, James Watt obtained his first British patent (No. 913) for his “New Invented Method of Lessening the Consumption of Steam and Fuel in Fire-Engines” (steam engines). His significant improvement to the Thomas Newcomen atmospheric steam engine, was to add a separate condenser for the steam to prevent steam loss during the engine’s operation.

            1779 –Tuesday- May Heaven be propitious, and smile on the cause of my country.........Happy Birthday,  Zebulon Pike, American explorer born in Trenton, New Jersey. Pike, discovered, tried to climb, but failed to climb, what is now known as Pike’s Peak in Colorado. Pike’s Peak is now the most visited mountain in North America and the second most visited mountain in the world behind Japan's Mount Fuji. As for Zebulon Pike?  He was killed in 1813 leading American troops on a successful attack on York (now Toronto) Canada during the War of 1812.

            1779 –Tuesday-  Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong…..Sharing a birthday with Zebulon Pike is another American hero, Stephen Decatur, born in    Sinepuxent, Maryland. A  Naval hero of the war with Barbary Pirates and the War of 1812, like Pike, Decatur went kaput at a comparatively young age when he was mortally wounded in a duel with Commodore James Barron. In 1804 he led an expedition into the harbor of Tripoli to burn the U.S. frigate Philadelphia, which had fallen into Barbary Pirate hands. He succeeded in this objective and made his escape under fire with only one man wounded.

             1781 –Friday- You cheated, you lied,
You said that you love me
You cheated, you lied
You said that you want me
Oh, what can I do
but just keep on loving you?
……The Shields………..The man who’s name has become synonymous with treason, former American and now British Brigadier General Benedict Arnold captured the virtually undefended capital city of Richmond. Virginia Governor, Thomas Jefferson did not act quickly to  General George Washington’s warning that the British would attack Virginia.  He called out the militia but was too late and Arnold’s British troops captured Richmond without a shot being fired.

            1794-Sunday- Banks and riches are chains of gold, but still chains …..Happy Birthday, Edward Ruffin, American farmer and a famous agricultural reformer born in Prince George County, Va. His experiments on his farm persuaded him that fertilizers, crop rotation, drainage, and good plowing could revitalize the declining soil of his native state of Virginia.  He has been dubbed the father of soil chemistry in the U.S.  Later in life he became a rabid secessionist and increasingly deranged as the fortunes of war turned against the Confederacy.  Ruffin fired one of the first shots at Fort Sumter in 1861. Two months after Appomattox, Ruffin wrote a note in which he said, “I cannot survive my country’s liberty,” and then killed himself. His act has been sometimes considered the "last shot" of the Civil War. Ironically, many of his soil preservation techniques would assist George Washington Carver in his experiments with crop rotation (see 1943 below)

             1855-Friday-  Shave Yourself. …..advertising slogan……Happy Birthday, King C. Gillette, American inventor born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and manufacturer of the safety razor. Gillette originally had the idea to put a sharp edge on a small square of sheet steel. He could then sell a safety razor blade that could be thrown away when it grew dull, and readily replaced. Great idea! However, it took six years from 1895 to 1901 for Gillette to find an engineer. It turned out that inventor William Emery Nickerson could produce the blade Gillette envisioned. In 1901, Gillette and Nickerson got their patent and formed the American Safety Razor Company (soon thereafter eponomously renamed for Gillette himself). For the first time, razor blades would be sold in multiple packages, with the razor handle a one-time purchase. The profits were in the blades, not the razors, sort of like when Polaroid sold cheap cameras and made profits through the film. 

1865 Thursday, When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder, a second seems like an hour. That's relativity……..Albert Einstein ……..Feliz Cumplea–os!/Happy Birthday…..Julio Garavito Armero, Colombian astronomer, mathematician, and engineer born in Santafé de Bogotá. The Biography website notes that he investigated problems of mechanical physics of electrons and the theory of relativity regarding the optics and the aberration of light. He rebuilt the mathematical optics, he criticized the noneuclidean geometries and ancient physical assumptions, in order to update the old principles of mechanics. He raised an important investigation into the final equations for the construction of some new tables of the moon. He also has a crater on the dark side of the moon named for him.

            1882-Thursday- You will perceive Tis really true when hands are useless toes will do ……Card on front of official photograph…..Lizzie Sturgeon, the pedestrial pianist, played the piano with her toes for a NY audience. Billed as the  “pedal pianist”, Sturgeon had been born with withered and useless arms.  Obviously this feet feat made her the “toes of the town”.  Contemporary singer, Madonna, paid tribute to Lizzie with her hit song, Like a Sturgeon. Lizzie could also play the  harp, do needle work and write and draw beautifully with her feet.

            1885-Monday-  The National Geographic Society would have nothing to do with sending a woman—a mother—in a balloon into danger. ….Jeanette Piccard…..Happy Birthday, aviatrix, Jeannette Piccard born in Chicago. Piccard was the only woman to reach the stratosphere in a hot air balloon…..presumably she was traveling with several cable television news  talk show hosts who supplied the hot air. The historic flight, which also included husband Jean Felix and their pet turtle took place on October 22, 1934. It he originated from Dearborn, Michigan and terminated near Cadiz, Ohio.

            1889-Saturday- Everyone has a right to a university degree in America, even if it's in Hamburger Technology……..Clive James…..Let’s not mince words but take note MacDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King and backyard grillers everywhere. The word “hamburger” first appeared in print in a Walla Walla, Washington, newspaper……yup! Walla Walla…. The Walla Walla Union in fact. This is according to the date given in the Oxford English Dictionary. The hamburger was named after a German food called hamburg steak, not because it contains ham, but meaning of “from Hamburg” which is, of course, in Germany. In the 19th century, German immigrants migrated to North America bringing along the recipe for the hamburg steak, a form of ground beef. Ground beef may in turn, go back to the Mongols and later the Tartars . American people adopted the hamburg steak but used the adjective form “hamburger” without “steak” at the end. By 1902, the first description of a hamburg steak appeared in the newspaper– we believe it was presented on either the Food Channel Iron Chef competition or Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals, - came close to the American conception of the hamburger. It gave a recipe calling for ground beef mixed with onion and pepper. There are several claimants to the title of Inventor of the Hamburger. They can be chopped up into Louis Lassen, "Hamburger Charlie" Nagreen, or the Menches Brothers. The burger on a bun is claimed to be the concoction of Charles and Frank Menches. It seems these two vendors ran out of sandwich pork at the Erie County Fair in 1885 and switched to beef.

1892 –Tuesday,  Aurora had but newly chased the night,
And purpled o'er the sky with blushing light…
….John Dryden…….The first successful auroral photograph was made by the German physicist Martin Brendel. Although it was limited to a blurred, low-contrast picture, it did convey some sense of the shape of the aurora if the aurora looked like Marilyn Monroe. The task was not easy because the auroral light itself was generally feeble and flickering while the  photographic materials of the time required a long exposure, and had trouble with the deep reds in the aurora as well as its bedroom eyes.

            1895 –Saturday- What a poignant drama …Emile Zola……French officer Alfred Dreyfus, condemned for passing military secrets to the Germans, was stripped of his rank in a humiliating public ceremony, with the crowd yelling anti-semitic epithets, at Paris’ Ecole Militaire. The Jewish artillery captain, convicted of giving military secrets to the Germans, on flimsy evidence in a Kafkaesque trial, began his life sentence in the infamous Devil’s Island Prison in French Guyana four months later. There was a tremendous public outcry at the anti-Semitic injustice of the shabby procedure culminating in journalist/author Emile Zola’s J’Accuse letter on the front page of the newspaper, L 'Aurore The public pressure resulted in Dreyfus’ eventual freedom but not before another trial followed by another conviction, then a 1906 the court of appeal pronounced his complete innocence. Dreyfus was reinstated as a major, re-enlisted in World War I, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.

1906Friday, Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho
Jericho Jericho
Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho
And The Walls Come Tumbling Down
…..Happy Birthday, Kathleen Mary Kenyon English archaeologist born in Londaon. Kenyon’s work at Jericho identified it as the oldest known continuously occupied human settlement as she excavated its Stone Age foundation. This evidence pushed back the era of occupation of the mound at Jericho from the Bronze Age and Neolithic to the Natufian culture at the end of the Ice Age (10,000 – 9,000 BC) or just about the apparent age of the bagel that Editorial Board of the Gnus purchased yesterday.

1909 – Tuesday, It is easier to square a circle than to get round a mathematician…… Augustus de Morgan Happy Birthday, Stephen Cole Keene, American mathematician and logician born in Hartford, Ct.. Keene’s  research was on the theory of algorithms and recursive functions. Why a child of five could understand this.  Someone fetch a child of five……Groucho Marx…. The recursion theory helped lay the foundations of theoretical computer science. He contributed to mathematical Intuitionism which had been founded by L.E.J Brouwer. By providing methods of determining which problems are soluble, Kleene's work led to the study of which functions can be computed.                

1914-Monday- You, me whipped cream and handcuffs…..any questions?.....unknown…. Happy Birthday, Aaron (Bunny) Lapin, American inventor born in St. Louis.  Lapin (lapin is French for bunny) invented whipped cream in a spray can in 1948.   He called it Reddi-Wip and it extended the shelf life of whipped cream.  It was first sold in St. Louis by milkmen, but its popularity and distribution expanded quickly across the country and Lapin was soon dubbed the “Whipped Cream King”. Food & Wine magazine reported in 1996 that he liked the aerosol whipped topping so much he even "dreamed of aerosol catsup and mustard." Not wishing to rest on his laurels, and foaming at the prospect of further lactosian breakthroughs, Lapin experimented with other aerosol products such as cinnamon margarine & pancake batter, but, strangely …..doesn’t the thought of spray on cinnamon margarine make your mouth water;  of them caught on. In 1998 Time Magazine listed Reddi-wip as one of the century's 100 great consumer items…..but then they also included Spam on the list too.

            1914 –Monday-  The owner, the employees, and the buying public are all one and the same, and unless an industry can so manage itself as to keep wages high and prices low it destroys itself, for otherwise it limits the number of its customers. One’s own employees ought to be one’s own best customers ……..Henry Ford……And on the same day that “Bunny Lapin” was born so he could invent whipped cream in a can, (see above) Henry Ford, head of the Ford Motor Company, gave birth to a minimum wage scale of $5 per day.  The average wage in the auto industry then was $2.34 for a 9-hr. shift. Ford not only doubled that, he also shaved an hour off the workday.  Working on an assembly line can be, shall we say, tedious and Ford had a problem with worker absenteeism and outright quitting.

            1924 –Saturday, I was trying to establish an identity in music, and black and white had nothing to do with it………Happy Birthday,Sam Phillips, American radio host and producer born in Florence, Alabama.  Phillips founded Sun Records Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Howlin' Wolf, among other blues, country and rock 'n' roll singers. In need of money, Phillips sold Presley's contract to RCA for 35,000 dollars in late 1955. Oy. 

1925 – Monday- ……how fitting it was that the Equality State be the first to elect a woman governor. ………John B. Kendrick…… After Wyoming governor William B. Ross went kaput following complications from an appendectomy in 1924, his wife Nellie T. Ross was elected to replace him, becoming the first woman to serve as a governor in the United States. She was defeated when she ran for re-election in 1926.  Ross was a strong supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt during his presidential campaign of 1932 and when he was elected, he named her to the federal post of Director of the United States Mint, (she later went on to be director of the U.S Ju Ju Be, the U.S M&M, and the ….U.S Junior Mint) making her the first woman to hold that post.

.1933 –Thursday- The Golden Gate Bridge is a giant moving math problem……..John van der Zee Construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge. It would take just over four years to complete as the bridge was open to vehicular traffic on May 28, 1937.  It is named the Golden Gate for spanning the Golden Gate Strait, which is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.  The strait was named "Chrysopylae", or Golden Gate, by John C. Fremont, explorer and Captain of the topographical Engineers of the U.S. Army circa 1846.  Evidently, it reminded him of a harbor in Istanbul named Chrysoceras or Golden Horn. The bridge would stretch across the San Francisco Bay from San Francisco to Marin County.

1934 –Friday-  I watch a lot of baseball on radio. …Gerald Ford …….A uniform size for the baseball was decided by the American and National Leagues, but mainly the American league. Up till now they had been using different sized baseballs.  The baseball is a ball which is nine inches in circumference and is 5 ounces in weight. All 108 red stitches on Major League baseballs are stitched by hand, although ball consistency has improved with new technology – materials are now stored in temperature controlled facilities and balls are wound under constant tension to eliminate “soft spots” and guarantee a uniform surface. A bit different from the old days when, as you can imagine, wrapping a walnut with string resulted in a ball very different in size and weight than one made by wrapping a stone with cloth, or even socks.

1939-Thursday,  Amelia Earhart was declared officially dead (gone, executed, departed, exanimate, exsanguinous, slain, asleep, bloodless, brain dead, cold, inanimate, breathless, deathly, stone-dead, nonviable, late, d.o.a., animation, assassinated, exsanguine, doomed, murdered, defunct, pulseless, at peace, lifeless, at rest, deathlike, fallen, deceased).  No remains are ever found and circumstances of her disappearance are forever shrouded in mystery. Determined to fly around the world at its widest point, a 29,000-mile trip, she left Miami with co-pilot, Fred Noonan on June 1, 1937 and made her way to Lae, New Guinea four weeks later. During the morning of July 2nd, Earhart and Noonan left for Howland Island, disappearing about a third of the way into the flight. The US Coast Guard cutter Itasca, stationed in the area to help Earhart find her way, radioed that contact had been lost. Her husband, publisher George Putnam, waiving the traditional seven-year waiting period, he asked a judge in Los Angeles to declare Earhart dead on January 5, 1939 so he could handle her estate.

1940-Friday- Give her some funked up music she treats you nice
Feed her some hungry reggae she'll love you twice
The girls don't seem to care tonight
As long as the mood is right
FM - no static at all
…….Steely Dan……….. The first public use of an FM radio. (See Jan. 28.) NBC began regular FM transmission from Empire State Building on W2XDG, 42.6 and on this day also began experimental FM relay broadcasts: W2XCR Yonkers to W2XMN Alpine, NJ to W1XPW Meriden CT to Worcester to W1XOJ Paxton MA to W1XOY at Mt. Washington to Boston AM station. The first show was Casey Casem’s America’s Top Forty Songs of Artists Who’s Dogs/Grandmothers/Beloved Uncles/Best Friends Died in their  Arms or Suffered Tragic Deaths and then They Wrote Songs About It.  FM is the encoding of a carrier wave by variation of its frequency in accordance with an input signal –frequency modulation.  And, in case you were wondering……… AM is  amplitude modulation.

                1943-Tuesday-  When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world…….George Washington Carver Day honors the African-American scientist on the anniversary of his death in 1943.  One of the 20th century's greatest scientists, George Washington Carver's influence is still being felt today He devoted his life to understanding nature and the many uses for the simplest of plant life and is best known for developing crop-rotation methods for conserving nutrients in soil and discovering hundreds of new uses for crops such as the peanut, Arachis hypogaea. The different uses for the peanut became important when  a necessity when farmers included it in crop rotationwith cotton and tobacco. However, they grew (pun intended)  miffed  because the amount of the  annual herbaceous plant (Peanut Facts; which grows to 30 to 50 cm (1 to 1½ ft) tall and has leaves that are opposite, pinnate with four leaflets, two opposite pairs; no terminal leaflet), they harvested was too plentiful and they were drowning in seas of goobers which began to rot in overflowing warehouses. Within a week, Carver had experimented with and devised dozens of uses for the peanut, including milk and cheese. In later years he would produce more than 300 products that could be developed from the legumes, including ink, facial cream, shampoo, soap and peanut butter (a life long diet staple of Professor Sy Yentz). Carver didn’t patent peanut butter – it had probably been developed by the Inca when they started using peanuts in 950 BC.

1945 –Friday-  “O.k, so here’s your ticket”…the pilot looks at the ticket and says “But this is one way!  …. So On this day Japanese pilots received the first order to become kamikaze, meaning "divine wind" in Japanese. There job was to crash their planes into allied ships. At Okinawa, they sank 30 ships and killed almost 5,000 Americans.

1950- Saturday, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer had a very shiny nose……. Gene Autry’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer  was still  #1 on the Billboard Charts. It sold over 8 million copies and was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1985. Serendipitously, it replaced another song about animal powered transportation, Frankie Laine’s Mule Train. I Can Dream, Can't I by the Andrews Sisters sent Rudolf out to pasture the following week.

            1959-Monday-  There you go and baby here am I
Well you left me here so I could sit and cry
Well -Golly gee what have you done to me
Well I
guess It Doesn't Matter Any More

Do you remember
baby last September
How you held me tight each and every night
Well whoops a daisy how you drove me crazy
Well I guess It Doesn't Matter Any More
……..Buddy Holly………..Coral Records released  It Doesn't Matter Anymore written by Paul Anka (the B side was Raining in My Heart) by Buddy Holly. While Coral Records released Holly’s solo efforts, his work with the Crickets was on Brunswick Records. The record was Holly's last before his tragic death in a plane crash that also killed singers Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson on February 3, just under a month later.  Interestingly, the tour, having lost Holly, Valens and Richardson, continued with Bobby Vee (a Holly imitator), Jimmy Clanton (Just a Dream) and Frankie Avalon (couldn’t sing at all) filling in.

            1960 – When machine gun mania rocked the nation!  They Matched Capone Kill For Kill, in a tidal wave of terror!.......Advertising……Attempting to cash in on the popularity of the Untouchables and gangster genre, - The Purple Gang, a movie about Detroit’s contribution to the roaring 20’s was released. Directed by Frank MacDonald, it starred Barry Sullivan as the brave police detective and an out of character (smirk smirk) Robert Blake as the crazed, over the top, overacting, killer.

 1961 –Thursday-  A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse.
He's always on a steady course.
Talk to Mister Ed
. ………………….. Did the horse ever get hoarse? Another watershed in cultural history as Mr. Ed, (the talking horse) one of the more the unforgettable (or forgettable?) of the of the numerous 1960's nonsensical sitcoms made its debut on CBS, home of the nonsensical sit com. Starring Alan Young (Androcles and the Lion), Leon Ames, and Connie Hines, and an horse named Bamboo Harvester as Ed, a palomino, this ode to anthropomorphic teleology  lasted until September 1966. Ed went kaput in 1970.

1965 – Tuesday,  HOME OF THE WHOPPER, serial # 72098429 and registration # 0782990 was trademark registered.  Connect to hamburger

1969  - Sunday, Queen Yllana: I'm going to allow myself the exquisite pleasure of watching you while I obliterate the Earth. The Venera 5 spacecraft is launched, becoming the second spacecraft to return data from the atmosphere of Venus. Venera 5 arrived at Venus on May 16, 1969. It would return data indicating that the planet’s atmosphere is composed of 93-97% Carbon Dioxide, 2-5% Nitrogen, and less than 4% Oxygen. The probe would return data until it came within twenty-six kilometers of the surface, where it would be lost when it’s crushed by the pressure of Venus’ atmosphere…….but that’s what they want you to think.  Anyone who has watched the 1958 documentary, Queen of Outer Space starring Zsa Zsa Gabor as Talleah and Laurie Mitchell as the Queen of the race of Amazons that we know inhabit Venus, will also know that the Venera 5 was in fact destroyed by Amazon’s Beta Disintegrator. 

1971  - Tuesday, An NBA player would need to play 160 games per year for 100 years to achieve my record of over 16,000 career games… as a Globetrotter we played over 350 games per year…….Meadowlark Lemon…….In Martin, Tennessee, The Washington Generals (that night they were called the New Jersey Reds)  beat Harlem Globetrotters 100-99 ending their 2,499 game winning streak.  But not really.  As the Washington Generals Fan Blog notes the games did have a pattern…..For 200 or more times a year the Washington Generals play the Globetrotters, and as the above would state the outcome is almost always the same. The Generals play hard, make sure to help the Trotters look good, the weave is done several times, someone loses their pants, the Trotters win and the fans go home with big smiles on their faces.  But the Blog also notes that the Generals may have beaten the ‘Trotters’ several times.  One, Nov. 2, 1957 is documented.  On this night, almost every shot the Reds threw up went in and with 2 minutes left, the Globetrotters were down by 12.  Of course they tied it but then Reds/Generals owner/player Red Klotz took the last shot.  It went in. No one told the time keeper to fiddle with the game clock, the buzzer sounded.  Kids cried.

             1972-Wednesday- I have decided today that the United States should proceed at once with the development of an entirely new type of space transportation system designed to help transform the space frontier of the 1970s into familiar territory, easily accessible for human endeavor in the 1980s and ’90s……Richard Nixon….NASA announced the start of the space shuttle program. President Richard M. Nixon declared that NASA would proceed with the development of a reusable low cost space shuttle system.  Columbia made the first shuttle flight on April 12, 1981. The idea for the shuttle was born in 1968 at the height of the Apollo program. The Space Shuttle was designed to fulfill two basic roles in NASA post-Apollo manned flight objectives. The first goal of the Space Shuttle program was to provide NASA with an efficient, re-usable method of carrying astronauts to and from a permanently manned space station. In addition, NASA believed that Space Shuttles could serve as multi-purpose satellite delivery vehicles with the potential to completely replace Atlas-Centaur, Delta and Titan rockets and also deliver alien pod like organisms that would take over human minds and cause them to believe that lining up outside all night so that they could get into a store early in the morning on the day after Thanksgiving was a good idea.

1975 – Sunday,   Come on and
Ease on down, ease on down the road
Come on, ease on down
Ease on down the road
Don't you carry nothing
That might be a load
Come on, ease on down
Ease on down, down the road
   …… The Wiz, a musical version of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, directed by Geoffrey Holder and starring Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, opened at the Majestic Theater on Broadway with an all-black cast. It ran for 1672 performances. We still await the all-white version of Porgy and Bess.

            1980 –Saturday- London is drowning and I live by the river……….London Calling, the great album by The Clash, was released in the United States.  Originally eleased in the U.K on December 14, 1979, London Calling was according to Rolling Stone, “an emergency broadcast from rock’s Last Angry Band, serving notice that Armageddon was nigh, Western society was rotten at the core, and Rock & Roll needed a good boot in the rear,”.  But the thing Professor Sy Yentz liked about it, beyond the title song, Spanish Bombs, and Lost in the Supermarket was the “stealth track” Train in Vain which was listed on neither the album cover or the label. You say you stand by your man
Tell me something I don't understand
You said you loved me and that's a fact
and then you left me, said you felt trapped
Well some things you can't explain away
But the heartache's in me till this day
…………………Joe Strummer and Mick Jones.

1982- Tuesday, Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice……..Will Durant……What the USGS described as a catastrophic rainstorm in central California on January 3-5,1982, dropped as much as half the mean annual precipitation within a period of about 32 hours, triggering landslides and floods throughout 10 counties in the vicinity of the San Francisco Bay. More than 18,000 of the slides induced by the storm transformed into debris flows that swept down hillslopes or drainages with little warning. Debris flows damaged at least 100 homes, killed 14 residents, and carried a 15th victim into a creek. Shortly after rainfall ceased, more than 459,000 m3 of earth and rock slid from a mountainside above the community of Love Creek in Santa Cruz County, burying 10 people in their homes. 18 different landslides in all, killed 33 and the Golden Gate Bridge was closed  Just from this one rainfall, San Francisco had received about half of its average annual precipitation.

1996  -Friday, Lawyers are like rhinoceroses: thick skinned, short-sighted, and always ready to charge…….David Mellor…..Since bad news from government is always dumped on Friday, (not many people follow the news over the weekend),  lawyers for sleezy prefabrictor lawyer, Hillary Rodham Clinton released sought-after billing records that were amazingly discovered the day before in a White House office after nearly two years of searches and subpoenas looking for copies of missing documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton's law firm that described her work for a failing savings and loan association in the 1980's

            2005 –Wednesday- So it was Eris that threw the golden apple of 2003 UB313 amongst the astronomers, to incite them to strife and contention over the definition of a planet...Unknown……. The beginning of the end for Pluto as a planet when Eris, the largest known dwarf planet (oxymoron alert – largest dwarf) in the solar system, was discovered by the team of Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz using photos taken almost two years earlier, on October 21, 2003, at the Palomar Observatory. Pity poor Pluto, demoted from planetary status, is now not even the largest dwarf planet.  Like Pluto, Eris (named after the Greek goddess of strife and discord – according to mythology, Eris is the one who started the quarrel among the gods that resulted in the Trojan War) is in the Kuiper Belt, the large group of objects orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune.  Eris was originally given the temporary name of Xena (after the TV “warrior princess”) – Xena became quite popular and many folks were disappointed when it was renamed Eris….. Eris even has a moon! But then so does Pluto. Eris’ moon has been named Dysomnia (who was the goddess’ daughter). Eris measures about 70 miles wider than Pluto and is the farthest known object in the solar system at 9 billion miles away from sun.

2011 – Wednesday,   You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him participate in synchronized diving……..Cuthbert Soup……..The USS Kittiwake, a decommissioned 1945-vintage Chanticleer Class submarine rescue ship, was scuttled in the clear waters of the Cayman Islands. They call it “reefing”Officials said the sunken vessel would attract fish and tourists or vice versa. The site, Dive – Cayman Islands informs us that “The Kittiwake is situated in marine park that is protected under law in Cayman, with no touching or taking of anything, no gloves allowed and no fishing allowed on the wreck/Kittiwake site. It requires an entrance fee to visit from a licensed operator, with the fees going towards the ongoing maintenance and protection of the new artificial wreck/reef plus natural reefs. An exception to taking fish is made for culling lionfish, an invasive species to Cayman waters.”

2011 – Wednesday,  You can tune a piano but you can’t tuna fish….REO Speedwagon……Speaking of water – see 2011 above -  In Japan a giant bluefin tuna fetched a record 32.49 million yen, or nearly $396,000, in Tokyo, in the first auction of the year at the world's largest wholesale fish market.  The fish, bought by a sushi restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza district and a Hong Kong sushi chain, weighed in at market at an incredible 754 pounds. That prices out to about $526 per pound wholesale. This tuna, caught off the northern coast of Japan, was estimated to be 20 years old, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Since the population of northern bluefin plummeted some 90% in the previous 30 years, there are probably very few of these big old fish still around. The northern bluefin is, listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered, one step away from being extinct in the wild.

2014Sunday, The Pacific is the best toilet for satellites….Neil deGrasse Tyson…. “Steve” from Mumbai reported the  launch of the communication satellite GSAT-14 aboard the GSLV MK.II D5. This marked the first successful flight of an Indian cryogenic engine.  The cryogenic engine gets its name from the extremely cold temperature at which liquid nitrogen (the fuels used) is stored.  The main objectives of GSAT-14 mission were to augment the In-orbit capacity of Extended C and Ku-band transponders…of course….., to provide a platform for new experiments, to convince the world to take Bollywood movies seriously, to spy on arranged marriages, and to escape Indian drivers.  



1066 –Saturday- Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
 Henry………..Henry The Fourth, Part 2 Act 3, scene 1, 26–31………..Following  the death of Edward the Confessor (who continued confessing up until his death…he even confessed to being a Britney Spears fan and watching Dr. Phil and being on the Grassy Knoll), Harold Godwinson, was crowned King Harold II.  He would be the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.  On his deathbed, Edward supposedly designated Harold the royal heir. This claim was disputed by William (the Bastard), duke of Normandy and cousin of the late Confessor who claimed that he had become the designated heir in 1051.   On October 14, 1066, Harold met William at the Battle of Hastings.  William won and went from William the Bastard to William the Conqueror in a single afternoon. and the course of history was changed.

            1367-Tuesday- I wasted time, and now doth time waste me ….. Act V, Scene V, Richard II……..Happy Birthday, Richard II of England .  Richard was the son of Edward the Black Prince (and Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent – note: English and Scottish history is replete with “Fair Maids”)  and grandson of Edward III.  Richard's father went kaput in 1376 and his grandfather kaputed following year, leaving Richard king at the age of 10. The country was ruled largely by his uncle, John of Gaunt. Note, we’re getting into Shakespeare, Henry IV part one territory here. Richard's unwise generosity to his “favorites”  - Michael de la Pole, Robert de Vere and others – (Richard was a poofter) led Thomas, Duke of Gloucester and four other magnates to form the Lords Appellant. In September 1398 a dispute between two former appellants, Gaunt's son Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, gave the king another opportunity for revenge and he banished them both. When Gaunt died in February 1399, Richard confiscated the vast Lancastrian estates, which would have passed to Bolingbroke. Big mistake. In May Richard left to attack Ireland.  Note; pre Tudor kings loved to attack Ireland. Bolingbroke invaded England and garnered both noble and popular support. Returning to England in August, Richard surrendered without a fight. In September he abdicated and Bolingbroke ascended the throne as King Henry IV. In October Richard was imprisoned in Pontefract Castle, where he was rendered kaput four months later.

1412-Monday- I was in my thirteenth year when I heard a voice from God to help me govern my conduct. And the first time I was very much afraid… (approximately) – Joyeaux Anniversaire/Happy Birthday, Joan of Arc, Roman Catholic Saint and national heroine of France born in Domremy.  At  12 she began to have mystical visions. In these visions she said she felt the voice of God commanding her to renew the French nation. France was engaged in the Hundred Years War (which was really 116 years) with England at the time. The visions were often accompanied by light and the presence of saints such as the Archangel Michael,St Catherine of Alexandria, St. Brigette Bardot, and St. Margaret of Antioch. With no military training, Joan convinced the embattled crown prince Charles of Valois to allow her to lead a French army to the besieged city of Orléans, where it achieved a momentous victory over the English and their French allies, the Burgundians.  She set out on her own to relieve Compiègne from the Burgundians, but oy gevalt,  was captured in a skirmish and sold to the English by John of Luxembourg for 10,000 crowns. She was put on trial (February 21-May 17, 1431) on charges of heresy and sorcery by an ecclesiastical court of the Inquisition, presided over by Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais. Most of what we know about Joan's brief life are those preserved in the records of her trial. She was found guilty, taken to the marketplace of Rouen on May 30, and fricasseed at the stake. 

            1540-Saturday-  My Lord, if it were not to satisfy the world, and My Realm, I would not do that I must do this day for none earthly thingHenry VIII to Thomas Cromwell on his wedding day……. A social note, Henry VIII married wife number four, Anne of Cleves. Anne, who was ugly enough to be a 20th century Windsor, was selected after a continent-wide search for the increasingly corpulent monarch.  Henry’s 3rd wife, Jane Seymour, had gone kaput shortly after giving birth to the King’s first male heir, Edward.  The artist Hans Holbein the Younger was dispatched to paint portraits of Anne and a selection of other women Henry was considering for the role of his fourth wife. Unfortunately, Holbein’s portrait was misleading and when Henry saw her in person, things got ugly.  Evidently, she was quite smelly too. Anne was commanded to leave the court on June 24 and on July 6 she was informed of the King’s decision to reconsider the marriage. In a short time, Anne was asked for her consent to an annulment, to which she agreed. The marriage was annulled on July 9, 1540, on the grounds that it had never been consummated -- Henry claimed that he had found his bride so ghastly that he could not bear to sleep with her. Henry then moved on to the rather morally challenged Catherine Howard for wife number five.

            1655 –Wednesday-  Gueter/Geburtsdaa/Happy Birthday Jacob Bernoulli, the first what seems like an endless line of Bernoullis. Jacob was a Swiss mathematician born in Basel. He was one of the first to fully utilize the differential calculus of and differential calculus of Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz and introduced the term integral in integral calculus. Bernoulli’s pioneering work Ars Conjectandi (The Art of Conjecturing) of 1713, published after he was kaput,  contained many of his finest concepts: his theory of permutations and combinations; aka, the Bernoulli numbers, by which he derived the exponential series; his treatment of mathematical and moral predictability; and the subject of probability—containing what is now called the Bernoulli law of large numbers, basic to all modern sampling theory; and his how to figure out restaurant tips for parties of 8 or more.

1681 –Monday-  To me, boxing is like a ballet - except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other…. Jack Handy ………It was first depicted in Sumerian relief (in Iraq) carvings from the 3rd millennium BC, while an ancient Egyptian relief from the 2nd millennium BC depicts both fist-fighters and spectators. Popular belief has it  that Christopher Monck, the Duke of Albemarle held a boxing competition between his butcher and butler. Possibly there was a beef over the weight of a pot roast. The butcher won. This was the first recorded boxing match.  There is no data on the combatants names nor whether they had to go back to their normal duties after the match. Nor if they were dressed like a butch and a butler. The common reason for such matches is believed to be amusement and fun.  According to the History of Boxing site, there were no weight divisions or round limits, and no referee. In general, it was extremely chaotic. The first boxing rules, called the Broughton’s rules, were introduced by champion Jack Broughton in 1743 to protect fighters in the ring where deaths sometimes occurred.  

1695 – How do you keep a clarinet from being stolen? Put it in an oboe case…..unknown…..In all of the vast sea of information that is the Gnus, we have not mentioned the oboe. So Buon Compleano/Happy Birthday,  Giuseppe Sammartini, Italian oboe player and composer born in Milan. His oboe was not broke but it was baroque. Sammartini spent most of his professional life in England where he was popular both as a composer and performer.  An oboe is a woodwind instrument with a double-reed mouthpiece, a slender tubular body, and holes stopped by keys.  It looks a bit like a clarinet on steroids.

            1714-Saturday- An artificial machine or method for the impressing or transcribing of letters singly or progressively one after another, as in writing, whereby all writing whatever may be engrossed in paper or parchment so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print …..patent title…….During the reign of the adorable, petite, Queen Anne, the typewriter was patented by English inventor Henry Mill. There was just one problem….he never succeeded in perfecting his invention, in fact no record of it survives, so credit, fame and money would go to others. Over three hundred years later, in 1866, Americans Christopher Latham Sholes and his colleagues, Carlos Glidden and Samuel Soulé, invented the first practical typewriting machine.  It took five years, dozens of experiments, and two patents later, Sholes and his associates produced an improved model similar to today's typewriters.  The first "Sholes & Glidden Type Writer" was offered for sale in 1874

1745 –Wednesday- Nous allons construire une machine qui va voler.( We will build a machine that will fly)……….. Joyeaux Anniversair/Happy Birthday Jacques Montgolfier , younger of the Mongolfier brothers who In 1782, with brother Joseph,  discovered that heated air from a fire directed into a paper or fabric bag made the bag rise. They demonstrated this discovery  later that year when a balloon they made rose into the air about 3,000 feet, remained aloft some 10 minutes, and then settled to the ground more than a mile and a half from where it rose. On September 19, in a demonstration before Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, they put a sheep, duck, and rooster aboard a balloon (wait, is this the opening of a joke?) to determine the effect of altitude on living creatures. The balloon floated for about 8 minutes and landed safely about 2 miles from the launch site. Next came humans as on  January, 19 1784 at Lyons, , Joseph made a huge 130-foot-diameter balloon, probably the largest hot-air balloon ever made. After a 15-minute flight with Joseph and two other passengers.  

1795 – Tuesday, Chemists are a strange class of mortals, impelled by an almost maniacal impulse to seek their pleasures amongst smoke and vapour, soot and flames,poisons and poverty ……Johann Joachim Becher ………Joyeaux Anniversaire/Happy Birthday, Anselme Payen, French chemist born in Paris. Payen ended the Dutch monopoly on borax—most of which was mined in the Dutch East Indies—by discovering a process for producing borax from boric acid. We’ll spare you the boric details. He also discovered and isolated diastase, the first enzyme (organic catalyst) to be obtained in concentrated form. But wait.  There’s more. He conducted an extensive analysis of wood and its components that culminated in the discovery of cellulose.

 1822- Sunday-  We could imagine nothing pleasanter than to spend all of our lives digging for relics of the past………Heinrich Schliemann……Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!/Happy Birthday Heinrich Schliemann, German archaeologist born in Neubukow.  He was one of the first popularizers of archaeology. Schliemann excavated sites at Troy, Mycenae, and Tiryns that he had connected to Homer’s Iliad and Vergil’s Aeneid. He was supposed to share the treasures he found with the Turkish government.  He spent a lot of time an effort trying to share as little as possible….some archeological treasures ended up in his garden……Somehow, he also found the time to  excavate Hissarlik on the Asia Minor coast of Turkey, and found ruins of nine consecutive cities buried on top of each other. He incorrectly identified second oldest Troy II, as Homer’s city. The city Homer called Troy has never been found. Some have even claimed it was in England……really.

1838-Saturday- Dit dot ditty dit dot a ditty ditty Dit dot ditty dit dot a ditty ditty dot ditty dit dot a ditty ditty Dit dot ditty, Baby come home to me 

I sent my baby a telegram asking to be her man
Begging her to come back home to me (Baby come home to me)
Oh I dotted the I's and I crossed the T's
And I'm begging pretty please Honey honey, come back home to me (Baby come home to me
…..Morse Code of Love……….The Capris………… Samuel Morse gave the first public demonstration of his telegraph.  Luckily, he didn’t have Marconi’s CQD (see 1904)  to try it out.  It was not until five years later that Congress funded $30,000 to construct an experimental telegraph line from Washington to Baltimore, a distance of 40 miles. The famous first message "What hath God wrought?" sent by "Morse Code" from the old Supreme Court chamber in the United States Capitol to his partner in Baltimore, officially opened the completed line of May 24, 1844.

1851 - Monday   You are invited to come to see the Earth turn, tomorrow, from ree to five, at Meridian Hall of the Paris Observatory……Invitation cards Foucault sent out to the scientists of Paris, to witness his famous pendulum experiment on 3 February 1851….. As the world turns…..The rotation of the Earth was proved experimentally by French physicist, Leon Foucault. After weeks of work, he recorded in his journal that he made this discovery at 2:00 am working with a pendulum in the cellar of the house he shared with his mother. He had realized that if he could devise a way to hang a pendulum from the ceiling in such a way that the pendulum was free to swing in any direction, he would be able to see the effect of Earth’s rotation. It would appear that the pendulum’s path was slowly shifting, while in fact the pendulum’s plane of oscillation would stay fixed while Earth turned beneath it. He also understood that the pendulum had to be designed very carefully. The bob must be perfectly symmetrical. When starting the pendulum swinging, it had to be released gently, as the slightest push would ruin the demonstration. But if done properly, it would be the first clear and dramatic demonstration of the Earth’s rotation.

1853 – Thursday- ……oh had you but been within reach of your dear father – in a moment changed my dear boy bright form into a lifeless one insensible to your parents’ agony – But you spirit yourself, my dear one – was not your redeeming savior ready to receive you? Your sweet little brother? Your dear Uncle Lawrence? – but you are beyond my knowledge at once – Ah, I trust in joy, but I would fain have kept you here – I know not how to go on without you – you were my comfort dear – far more than you thought…..Jane Pierce letter to her dead son……..President elect, Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire and his wife, Jane were involved in a train accident on their way to Washington.  Both escaped with minor injuries as the de-railed train tumbled down an embankment but their eleven year old son, Bennie was killed.  Jane Pierce would not be seen in public for  two years and refused to attend her husband’s inauguration. Pierce became the first president to have a decorated Christmas tree placed in the White House in an attempt to cheer up Jane who was still mourning the death of Bennie. The tradition that continues to this day. Their first son, Franklin Pierce, Jr. died at birth and their second, Frank Robert Pierce, died when he was four years from typhus.

1857 –Tuesday-  Throwing in everything, including the kitchen zinc, a patent, which was the country’s first patent related to zinc ore – a process for extracting zinc oxide from ores - was issued to Samuel Wetherill of  Bethlehem, Pa.who was then working for the While working for the New Jersey Zinc Company.

1883Saturday,  You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts. ……Eid milaad saeed!/Happy Birthday, Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet, painter, and philosopher born in what is now, Bcherri, Lebanon (then Ottoman Empire). He emigrated with his parents to Boston in 1895.  Critics note that Gibran’s literary and artistic output is highly romantic in outlook and was influenced by the Bible, Friedrich Nietzsche, and William Blake…..Nietzsche? Really?....We are most familiar with his work The Prophet, published in 1933 which had to be read by every college student during the 1960s.

            1898-Thursday- Please insert another twenty five cents for 3 more minutes….. The first telephone message from a submerged submarine was  sent by the inventor Simon Lake (really his name). How ironic that Mr. Lake sent his message (which has been transcribed as “ GET ME OUT THE HELL OF HERE!!!!!!!” from the bottom of a river, the Patapsco (outside Baltimore) to be exact. Lake competed with  John Holland to produce the first submarine for the U.S Navy.  Lake, a Quaker from Pleasantville, New Jersey, was unable at first to get funding for his submarines and sold one to Russia in 1904 and then spent seven years working for the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Navy.

            1904- Wednesday Ships in distress shall use the following signal:  ...---... repeated at brief intervals…………. Proving that even great scientists don’t always get it right, Guglielmo Marconi established “CQD” as first international radio distress signal. It didn’t last long. Two years later, the much quicker and easier to send by radio, “SOS” became the radio distress signal. CQ had previously been used for general messages.  Marconi added the D for distress. At the second Berlin Radiotelegraphic Conference of 1906, the subject of a distress signal was again addressed. The distress signal chosen was "SOS."  The Telegraph Office website notes that unfortunately, the 1906 Conference proceedings do not give an account of the discussions nor the origin of SOS.

 1907 –Sunday- Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed. …….Maria Montessori founded the first Montessori school, Casa di Bambini,  in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. Its overall purpose was to give four to seven year old children from low-income families a full-day educational program.  Maria Montessori, born in 1870, was the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree. She worked in the fields of psychiatry, education and anthropology. She believed that each child is born with a unique potential to be revealed, rather than as a "blank slate" waiting to be written upon, or the horrible little monsters that make life miserable for teachers in June or the wild-eyed fanatics taking over college campuses.

1912-Saturday-  Under a sky of azure, where balmy breezes blow;  
    Kissed by the golden sunshine, is Nuevo Mejico.  
Home of the Montezuma, with fiery heart aglow,  
   State of the deeds historic, is Nuevo Mejico.  

   O, fair New Mexico, we love, we love you so  
  Our hearts with pride o'erflow, no matter where we go,  
    O, fair New Mexico, we love, we love you so,  
    The grandest state to know, New Mexico.
……state song, Elizabeth Garrett…… 
New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, was admitted into the United States as the 47th state, just beating out Arizona which came in on February 14.
New Mexico has an ancient history dating back to what is called "Folsom Man," a 20,000 year-old human inhabitant found near Clovis. Non New Mexicans call him Larry King.  More recently, around 1100, the Anasazi lived in New Mexico throughout the northern part of the state.  Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, a Spanish explorer searching for gold, explored the region that became New Mexico in 1540–1542. In 1598 the first Spanish settlement was established on the Rio Grande River by Juan de Onate; in 1610 Santa Fe was founded and made the capital of New Mexico. The U.S. acquired most of New Mexico in 1848, as a result of the Mexican War, and the remainder in the 1853 Gadsden Purchase-see December 30.  Some state symbols; flower- yucca,  tree-pinon, animal - black bear, bird- roadrunner, fish-cutthroat trout, vegetables - chili and frijol, gem- turquoise,  and the song is the unforgettable,  O Fair New Mexico New Mexico even has a state cookie-bizcochito, and a state question – Red or Green?

         1919-Monday- Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake there would have been a fight…….. Thomas Marshall The great Theodore Roosevelt, 20th President of the United States, author, conservationist and explorer, died at his home, Sagamore Hill at Oyster Bay, Long Island.  He was a 60. Roosevelt had never really recovered from the illnesses he suffered during his exploration of the River of Doubt, an Amazon tributary in 1914.  The Gnus highly recommends, in fact, The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard, a superb history that incorporates great science and reads like a novel. His physicians said that the immediate cause of death was a clot of blood which detached itself from a vein and entered the lungs.

1929 –Sunday- I asked the waiter, 'Is this milk fresh?' He said, 'Lady, three hours ago it was grass………Phyllis Diller….The ever lactating, Sheffield Farms of New York began using wax paper cartons instead of glass bottles for milk delivery.  Wax was applied to the paper, to make it waterproof.  These were called Sealcones and would be patented on February 9, 1932 by John Seifert. The dairyantiques.com website gives the date for the Sheffield introduction as January 8.  They also note thata study done by the Philadelphia Bureau of Health in 1905 showed that for similar milk, wax paper milk bottles had a quarter of the bacteria as recycled glass milk bottles.  They also reported that the milk stayed sweeter for a longer period of time in the wax paper milk bottle. In 1940, polyethylene was introduced as the waterproofing material.          

1930  -Monday,   When I came to town and saw the price of diesel went above regular gas, that burnt me up……..Ron Ziegler……..The first trip made in diesel-engine automobile was  successfully completed. The trip was made between Indianapolis, Indiana and New York City. Why? It was to promote the diesel engine of course.  Cummins Engine Company owner Clessie Cummins mounted a diesel engine in a used Packard Touring Car and set out for the National Automobile Show. Of course he had no idea of how difficult it is to find a parking space in New York City so after and hour of driving around, he had to go back to Indianapolis. The 800-mile trip from Indianapolis to New York City used 30 gallons of fuel, which cost $1.38. 

            1936 – What ridiculous histrioni-ni-ni....... h-h-histrioni-ni............What ridiculous ACTING!! …..Porky Pig made his cartoon debut in a Warner Brothers cartoon and Tex Avery’s directoral debut, Gold Diggers of ‘49. Note, Mel Blanc, who supplied the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Tweety, Anderson Cooper,  Justin Bieber, Gwenyth Paltrow, Rosie O’Donnell, the entire cast of  The View, assorted Kardashians and Porky, did not join the company till the following year. The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point’s Gerald F. Johnson reported in his clinical study of Porky Pig Cartoons that stutters on approximately 23% of his spoken words and has a wide variety of stuttering symptoms. Porky Pig was predisposed to stutter since his father also is a hard core stutterer. Joe Dougherty supplied Porky’s voice from his very first cameo appearance in I Haven’t Got a Hat in 1935 through Porky’s Romance in 1937.

            1944 – Thursday- Dear immune system, YOU SUCK.  Love, I'd like to enjoy Christmas …….unknown…….Gueter Geburtsdaa/Happy Birthday –Rolf M. Zinkernagel Swiss immunologist and pathologist born in Basel.  Zinkernagel received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1996  for his work with colleague Peter Doherty defining the system by which the immune system identifies friend and foe.  Immune system friends know the secret password “swordfish”, but foes usually try “it’s me, the Jehovah’s Witness”. Actually it is the thymus gland that selects only white blood cells that react properly to virus-infected cells

1945-Saturday, I am ze locksmith of love, no?......... Pepe Le Pew, the cartoon skunk created by Chuck Jones and voiced by Mel Blanc, debuted in Odor-Able Kitty. He wasn’t Pepe in this one though, he was named Henry. This one established the standard formula which is …….A female black cat (whose official name is Penelope Pussycat, although she was often called by other names until Penelope was officially decided on) somehow gets a white stripe down her back. Pepe, being the hopeless romantic he is, would always mistake Penelope as a female skunk and try to "woo" her.

            1949-Thursday-  Scientists have found the gene for shyness. They would have found it years ago, but it was hiding behind a couple of other genes……Jonathan Katz……..The first photograph of genes was taken at the University of Southern California by Dr. Daniel Chapin Pease, (brother of Warren Pease) and Dr. Richard Freligh Baker. They used an electron microscope for their groundbreaking achievement. The photo, a 5 x 7” color portrait of a pair of Levis 30” waist with 30” inseam, was framed and hung in their office. They also took pictures of Gene Tierney, Gene Tunney, Gene Hackman, Gene Wilder, Gene Simmons, Gene Kelly, Gene Siskel, Gene Roddenberry, Gene Autry, Gene Pitney, Gene Krupa, Gene Barry,  and Gene Mauch.

            1951 – Saturday,  Coaches who freeze the ball are only freezing themselves out of business, yet by now it must be clear that even the professionals are doing it….. Harry Grayson ……..In what was possibly the most boring basketball of all time,
The NBA’s  Indianapolis Olympians defeated  the Rochester Royals in six overtimes, 75-73, in what is also the longest game in NBA history. In this game, neither team scored at all in the second or fourth overtime periods, and only 18 total points were scored in the extra sessions. The game could have killed professional basketball as The Rochester Democrat (that’s a newspaper) wrote Fans Irked at Freezing Tactics Used in Royal-Olympian Marathon. Ralph Beard and Alex Groza (later involved in gambling scandals) led the Olympians with 17 points each  While Arnie Riesen paced the Royals with 26. In 1954, the NBA adopted the 24-second shot clock, which prevented similar totals from occurring again. The Royals would move around the country, first to Cincinnati, then Kansas City and eventually became the Sacramento Kings. The Olympians, lasted only two more seasons before folding in 1953. 

1954 -Wednesday,  Who bothers to cook TV dinners? I suck them frozen. ……Woody Allen…….A New York Times article on food included the news that a frozen turkey dinner from C.A. Swanson & Sons of Omaha was soon to be available in the newspaper’s home area for about $1. Swanson had quite a few turkeys left over from Thanksgiving. This was the first frozen meal of what came to be known as the  “TV Dinner” that was successfully sold across the U.S. An aluminium foil tray with a foil overwrap was filled with white and dark turkey slices, cornbread sage dressing and gravy, plus two separate segments contained green peas and mashed sweet potatoes with butter. Sounds delicious Each 12-oz dinner needed only about 25 minutes in a hot oven to be ready to eat from the disposable foil tray (no plate needed). Six months later, having had great response to the turkey meal, Swanson introduced a “TV Fried Chicken Dinner,” Although TV Dinner was the Swanson brand, it became the standard description for ersatz meals.

1957 –Sunday- I just wanted to say that this is a real decent, fine boy ……Ed Sullivan……Elvis Presley made his third and final appearance on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town. Protecting the American public from God knows what, the CBS censors ordered Elvis to filmed from the waist up. Presley sang Hound Dog, Heartbreak Hotel, Love Me Tender, Don't Be Cruel, Too Much, When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again, and Peace in the Valley. Also appearing on the show was comedienne, Carol Burnett.

1963 – Sunday  Consider yourself at home.
Consider yourself one of the family.
We've taken to you so strong.
It's clear we're going to get along.
Consider yourself well in
Consider yourself part of the furniture.
There isn't a lot to spare.
Who cares?..What ever we've got we share!
...............Oliver! opened at Imperial Theater NYC for 774 performances.  Directed by Peter Coe with composer, lyricist and librettist Lionel Bart the musical version of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist starred Georgia Brown, Clive Revill, and David Jones (who later joined the Monkees). The show would win 10 TonyAwards including Best Musical. Favorite songs included Food, Glorious Food; I’d Do Anything; As Long as He Needs Me; You’ve Got to Pick a Pocke or Two; and Consider Yourself.

            1971-Wednesday- Yours are just kicking in
Mine are just checking out
You're at the beginning of this tunnel
And I'm just coming out
…….Tracy Thor ….. University of California at  Berkeley chemists announced the their late 1970 achievement of first synthetic production of growth hormones. They tested the hormones on a cauliflower and it resulted in the creation of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Choh Hao Li, a Chinese-born biochemist and endocrinologist was studying the hormones (note hormones are also the sound prostitutes make when faking pleasure) of the pituitary gland and in 1970 he and his team were able to synthesize the hormone. At a length of 256 amino acids it was the biggest protein ever synthesized at that time.

1971 – Wednesday…..You've gotta have heart
All you really need is heart
When the odds are sayin' you'll never win
That's when the grin should start
You've gotta have hope
Mustn't sit around and mope
Nothin's half as bad as it may appear…
… music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. ……..The first adult heart transplant in the U.S. was performed at the Stanford Medical Center, Stanford, Calif., by Dr. Norman Shumway. The 54-year-old patient, whose heart had been damaged by virus infection, survived for 15 days after the surgery. In 1967, a human heart from one person was transplanted into the body of another by a South African surgeon named Dr. Christiaan Barnard in Cape Town. In early December, Dr. Barnard's surgical team removed the heart of a 25-year-old woman who had died following an auto accident and placed it in the chest of Louis Washkansky, a 55-year-old man dying of heart damage. The patient survived for 18 days.

1973    You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you
You're so vain, I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? don't you?
    …….. You’re So Vain  by  Carly Simon landed at the #1 spot on the Billboard Charts knocking off Billy Paul’s plaintive wail, Me and Mrs. Jones. Carly would be replaced at the top by Stevie Wonder’s Superstition. Naturally, everyone wanted to know who was so vain. Mick Jagger provided some back up singing.  He was probably vain.  Years later Simon said one verse was about Warren Beatty……but that was no surprise.

1980 – Sunday, Q: Why do they put sidewalks beside most streets and highways? A: So Chrysler owners have a safe place to walk home……unknown…….Rather than improving the quality of the product and facing  strong competition from the  Japanese and European car makers the ever feckless President Jimmy Carter authorized $1.2 billion in federal loans to save the failing Chrysler Corporation  Well that certainly worked out well. Chrysler went on to give us the Dodge Monaco, the Plymouth Sundance,  the Dodge/Plymouth Neon, the Dodge Aries/Plymouth Reliant, and the Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon.

1980 – Sunday, Time is on my side, yes it is
Time is on my side, yes it is
Now you always say
That you want to be free
But you'll come running back (said you would baby)
You'll come running back (I said so many times before)
You'll come running back to me
. ……Rolling Stones…..00:00:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) or 00:00:19 International Atomic Time (TAI) marked the beginning of the first Global Positioning System (GPS) epoch – its first week zero. In the GPS system, dates are expressed as a number representing the week of the year and a number representing the day of the week. As a ten-bit field, the week re-zeros every 1,024 weeks, or 19.6 years. Got it?

1983 – Thursday, There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot……Steven Wright…..Shades of Olaf Tryggvason, and Sweyn Forkbeard. Another war?  Didn’t they just have one in the 10th and 11th centuries? A new fishing grounds war has broke out over the legality of a ban on n British boats from fishing in UK coastal waters, with a Danish trawler captain arrested for illegally entering British waters harvesting guppies.

1994 –Sunday-Why me? Why, why, why?………… Olympic figure skating hopeful, Nancy Kerrigan was attacked after a practice session two days before the Olympic Trials.  A man hit Kerrigan with a club on the back of her knee. Evidently, fellow competitor, Tonya Harding, a trailer park denizen, her (first of several) ex-husband, and several other Rhodes Scholars and had hatched a plan to keep Kerrigan out of the Trials. Kerrigan got to the Olympics anyway but had to settle for a silver medal as the media had  turned against her for attacking the metal baton with her knee and and the gold went to 16 year old Ukranian and  future alcoholic, Oksana Baiul. 

1995Friday,  Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those who say this are witless. Islam says: ‘Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Kill them, put them to the sword and scatter their armies….The Ayatollah Khomeini…..A chemical fire caused during bomb making testing by Abdul Hakim Murad and Ramzi Ahmed Yousef (who directed the 1993 World Trade Center bombing)  in the Doña Josefa Apartments complex in Manila, Philippines, lead to the discovery of plans for Project Bojinka, an Islamic mass-terrorist attack (surprise). The plot involved three separate elements: The assassination of Pope John Paul II during a visit to the Phillipines on January 15. The bombing of eleven airliners on January 21 and 22.The flying of a Cessna filled with explosives into CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

1997Monday, The sun is new each day…….Heraclitus……The Sun erupted, more than usual,  shooting a “coronal mass ejection” towards Earth. The blast would reach Earth on January 10th, and it would be blamed for the January 11th failure of the US$200 million Telstar 401 AT&T communications satellite, Al Gore inventing the internet, Justin Bieber, Celebutards, most goverments in Africa, the New York City Council,  reality television, Harry Reid, and iZombies.

 2000 Thursday, Few problems are less recognized, but more important than, the accelerating disappearance of the earth’s biological resources. In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it is perched…..Paul R. Ehrlich ………Thirteen year old Celia, the last Pyrenean ibex was found dead in northern Spain after a tree had landed on her.  Scientists took skin cells from the animal's ear and preserved them in liquid nitrogen, and in 2009 an ibex was cloned, making it the first species to become "unextinct." However, the clone died just seven minutes later due to lung defects. The pyrenean ibex was  24 to 30 inches at the shoulder and weighed 55 to 176 pounds

2001 –Saturday,  At the rate we're going, the Inaugural Ball is going to be a surprise party…Argus Hamilton……With the defeated Vice President Al Gore presiding, his banging of the gavel produced an algore rhythm, Congress formally certified George W. Bush, hanging chads and all, the winner of the this/close and bitterly contested 2000 presidential election.  Acomprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year's presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward…..New York Times, Nov. 21, 2001.

2010 –Wednesday,  It helps us understand what pi is, not just food…..Robert Toth ……..French computer scientist Fabrice Bellard announced that he had  calculated Pi to nearly 2.7 trillion digits (on Dec. 31, 2009) using a desktop computer running Linux, approximately 123 billion digits further than the previous record of about 2.6 trillion digits set in August 2009 by Daisuke Takahashi at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. According to Bellard, the calculation took 131 days to perform and check and the final result consumed over a terabyte of hard disk capacity to store. It was the World Record for the computation of Pi until the record of 5 trillion digits of Alexander J. Yee & Shigeru Kondo on August 2, 2010.  Pi, or π, is representative of the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Pi is often a numeral factor in many calculations.

2011 Thursday, FIRST WITCH
When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

When the hurly-burly's done,
When the battle's lost and won
…..Act 1. Scene 1.1-13, Macbeth…… The Romanian government reformed their tax code to include such occupations as fortune teller, astrologer, and witch into the category of self-employed.  This compelled those who identify as such to pay taxes for the first time. The action prompted some self-identifying witches to threaten to curse the government for their actions, while others praised the government for the official recognition of their crafts. Several government officials ended up with tree limbs growing from their hands.



1355 –Tuesday-  By the time we got to Woodstock,
We were half a million strong
And everywhere was a song and a celebration.
And I dreamed I saw the bomber death planes
Riding shotgun in the sky,
Turning into butterflies
Above our nation
….Joni Mitchell……… Happy Birthday, Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester, yet another son (the youngest) of Edward III of England. Thomas bit the dust in 1397 on orders of his nephew, Richard II (who in turn would be slewn in 1399).

            1558 –Tuesday-  When I am dead and opened, you shall find `Calais' lying in my heart……..Queen Mary I……..The French, led by  Francois, the Duke de Guise (a duke in disguise or disgeeze) seized  Calais, the last continental possession of England. Calais is a city in northern France, located at 50°57N 1°52E. It is in the département of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sous-préfecture. It has a population of about 80,000 people plus a zillion tourists.  It overlooks the Strait of Dover, the narrowest point in the English Channel, which is only 34 km (21 miles) wide and is the closest French town to England. The white cliffs of Dover can easily be seen on a clear day. The Duke advised King Henry II that someday, it would be the principal ferry crossing point between England and France, with the vast majority of cross-Channel being made between Dover and Calais. In addition, French end of the Channel Tunnel would  also be situated in the vicinity of Calais, in Sangatte some 4 miles (6 km) to the west of the town. And why?  Due to the large difference in taxation between Britain and France on such items as alcoholic beverages and tobacco, massive shopping complexes targeted at British day-trippers have sprung up on and around Calais. Such day trippers are colloquially known as "booze cruisers". King Edward  I had taken Calais after his victory at Crecy in 1347 and King Henry V had marched to Calais after his victory at Agincourt in 1415. In the intervening years, English possessions ebbed and flowed until Henry VIII’s daughter, Mary I, (Bloody Mary) a very unpopular Queen lost Calais during an ill conceived, badly fought war with France

1598-Wednesday- Take me for a ride in your Tsar Tsar
Take me for a ride in your Tsar Tsar
Take me for a ride.  Take me for a ride.
Take me for a ride in your Tsar Tsar
…….Apologies to Woody Guthrie……..Boris Godunov became Czar of Russia. Boris was the brother-in-law of Fyodor, the son of Ivan “The Terrible” (but Boris was good enough).  Fyodor had become Tsar when Ivan went  kaputsky in 1584. Unfortunately, Fyodor was, to be kind, not the sharpest knife in the monarchial drawer.  Ivan, knew this and appointed a council to assist (smirk smirk) Fyodor in his rule.  Within a few years Boris Gudunov was the sole remaining member of the council.  He ruled as Regent and defacto Czar until Fyodor gave up the ghost in 1598. Gudunov only ruled until 1605. Russia suffered a horrible famine and Gudunov was blamed as rumors spread that he was a usurper and Russia was suffering Divine punishment for his sins. He was also faced with pretenders to the throne claiming to be Ivan’s other son Dimitri.  All in all a nice soap opera but for a better opera, see Massorgsky’s Boris Gudunov based on the drama by Alexander Pushkin.

1608-Monday- …such a fire growing rapidly it consumed all the buildings of the fort and the storehouse of ammunition and provision, so that there remained only three……  Francis Perkins……Shortly after the arrival of supply ships,  Jamestown, the first colony, just eight months old, had a fire destroy many buildings within the Jamestown fort, among them the colony's first church. Most of the colony's provisions were also destroyed. Powhatan, the father of Pocahontas, provided food for the colony sending allowing Pocahontas to go along almost on a weekly basis.      

 1610-Thursday- But what exceeds all wonders, I have discovered four new planets and observed their proper and particular motions, different among themselves and from the motions of all the other stars; and these new planets move about another very large star [Jupiter] like Venus and Mercury, and perchance the other known planets, move about the Sun. As soon as this tract, which I shall send to all the philosophers and mathematicians as an announcement, is finished, I shall send a copy to the Most Serene Grand Duke, together with an excellent spyglass, so that he can verify all these truths……..  Galileo Galilei discovered the first four of Jupiter‘s moons.  Can you name them?  That’s right!  The four Galilean Moons are; Ganymede, (a Trojan prince of great beauty whom Zeus made cupbearer to the gods), Callisto, (a nymph, beloved of Zeus. Hera –Mrs. Zeus- changed the woman into a bear and Zeus then placed her in the sky as the constellation Ursa Major). Europa, (a Phoenician princess who was abducted to Crete by Zeus), and Io (a princess whom Zeus transformed into a white heifer to hide her from his ever jealous spouse). We also call Io the “Internal Revenue Moon” as in I owe).  Actually, he saw three of the moons on this day.  He thought they were stars until he looked (through his crude 33-power telescope) the next evening and saw they had appeared to move the wrong way. On January 13th, he found a fourth “star” that moved in the same direction as the previous three. He realized they were orbiting Jupiter. Tada!  And the next moon after the original four?  The next moon discovered orbiting Jupiter was Amalthea, which was observed by E.E. Barnard in 1892. So far to date, there have been – pick a number-  moons found orbiting Jupiter. Also remember that Galileo was born in 1564, the same year as Shakespeare and also the same year that Michelangelo died.

1718 – Tuesday, Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes. ….Happy Birthday,Israel Putnam, American Revolutionary War hero born in Salem Village, Massachusetts. He planned the fortifications at the Battle of Bunker Hill and gave his men the famous instruction that introduces this item.

            1745-Thursday-  Floats like a lepidoptera.  Stings like a hymenoptera….Dr. Niles Crane, Frasier……Tillykke med fodselsdagen!/Happy Birthday, Johann Fabricius, Danish entomologist born in Tøndern. Fabricius was one of the great entomologists of the 18th century (a century aflutter with entomology). He studied with Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus, named and classified some 10,000 species of insects. He studied mouth parts rather than wings.  Among the classifications were: Insects that Flew in my Ear, Insects that are Really Ugly Close Up, Insects that Gave Me a Rash, Insects That Made My Wife Scream, Insects That Splatter When You Step on Them, and Insects That Taste Good in Covered With Chocolate

             1782-Monday- If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only two tellers? …….unknown……The Bank of Philadelphia, the first commercial bank in the U.S, opened for business. This was one week after the Continental Congress had granted a perpetual charter to the Bank of North America. This bank was intended to be a foundation of American credit that would play a significant role in the financial management of the republic. It was a fairly optimistic endeavor since the British had surrendered at Yorktown in 1781 but the treaty ending the war would not be signed until 1783. All members of the Continental Congress received low interest credit Cards from VISA with bonus points towards a Caribbean Cruise on Disney Lines.

            1785 Friday- Up, up and away
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon
The world's a nicer place in my beautiful balloon
It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon
We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky
For we can fly we can fly
….The Fifth Dimension……Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries flew from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in a gas balloon, becoming the first to cross the English Channel by air (and avoiding the long wait at passport control at Calais). Cleverly preparing for any difficulties, their balloon was weighed down by extraneous supplies such as anchors, a nonfunctional hand-operated propeller, and silk-covered oars with which they hoped they could row their way through the air. Just before reaching the French coast, the two intrepid flyers threw nearly everything out of the balloon, including Blanchard’s trousers and other undeclared items over the side as they attempted to lighten the ship.

            1789-Wednesday- The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do…..Joseph Stalin…..The first U.S. presidential election was held. Americans voted for electors who, a month later (it also took that long to count the “hanging chads” in Florida in 2000, the Ohio re-count in 2004, and the Minnesota Senate election of 2008 in which the number of ballots outnumbered the number of absentee voters), chose, surpise, George Washington to be the nation’s first President with John Adams as the Vice-President. Others receiving votes were John Jay, John Rutledge, John Hancock, and, bookending nicely with the George at the beginning and four Johns in the middle, George Clinton (yes, the same George Clinton who would go on to be the lead singer of Parliament/Funkadelic 200 years later) last.  

            1800-Tuesday-  It is a national disgrace that our Presidents, after having occupied the highest position in the country, should be cast adrift, and, perhaps, be compelled to keep a corner grocery for subsistence …..Happy Birthday, Millard Fillmore, the 13th president of the United States. He was  born in the Finger Lakes country of New York.  Fillmore was Zachery Taylor’s Vice President but when “Old Rough and Ready” bit the dust in 1850, Millard succeeded to the Presidency.  He did not have a Vice-President. Serving for just about three years, Fillmore was denied the Whig Party nomination in 1852 largely because he had signed the Fugitive Slave Act.  Fillmore strictly enforced it. In so doing, however, he enraged northern abolitionists. Millard was one of (as of this writing) five unelected Presidents.  The others were; T John Tyler (1841-1845), Andrew Johnson (1865-1869), Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885) and Gerald Ford (1974-1977).

            1827-Sunday-  I’m going to kill myself. I should go to Paris and jump off the Eiffel Tower. I’ll be dead. you know, in fact, if I get the Concorde, I could be dead three hours earlier, which would be perfect. Or wait a minute. It -- with the time change, I could be alive for six hours in New York but dead three hours in Paris. I could get things done, and I could also be dead…..Woody Allen……. Happy Birthday, Sir Sandford Fleming, Scottish surveyor and leading railway engineer born in Kirkaldy.  After emigrating to Canada, Fleming developed the idea of dividing the world into time zones. He was instrumental in convening the 1884 International Prime Meridian Conference in Washington, at which the system of international standard time - still in use today - was adopted. Obviously, this man is responsible for contemporatry “jet lag”. Once he had figured out which time zone he was in Fleming also designed the first Canadian postage stamp.  The three penny stamp issued in 1851 had a beaver on it (the national animal of Canada, since replaced by Alex Trebek).

1834-Tuesday-  An amazing invention - but who would ever want to use one?.......Rutherford B. Hayes…….Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!Happy Birthday, Johann P. Reis, German physicist born in Gelnhausen, Hesse-Kassel. His invention of an early telephone – one of several early “telephones” preceded the work of Alexander Graham Bell. Reis actually coined the word “telephone” for his invention. For his first experiments in the 1850s, Reis used a sausage skin stretched across a hollowed-out cork as a membrane for his crude microphone (der Geber). Using wax, he attached a metal contact to the membrane. This contact was linked to the strings of a violin, which served as a receiver or speaker (der Empfänger). Later he would use an electromagnetic receiver. He was plagued by busy signals and telemarketers for the rest of his life.

            1896 –Tuesday- Progress in civilization has been accompanied by progress in cookery….Cookbook author, educator, "domestic scientist",  Fannie Farmer published her first and now famous, Boston Cooking School Cookbook. She included very specific and accurate measurements. Before that cookbook, ingredient lists were estimates….just like some of the contemporary chefs on television ….just use a “pinch of salt” and then they grab a handful and heave it all over the food and “a bit of butter” at which point they dump in a slab the size of a brick.  Fanny Farmer also discussed food composition, caloric calculations and the body's need for nutrients. She formed a systematic view of cooking that influenced cooking instruction for decades to come.

1900-Sunday-  One had only to look at the map to see that Panama was the proper place for the canal. The route was already well established, there was a railroad, there were thriving cities at each end. Only at Panama could a sea-level canal be built. It was really no great issue at all. Naturally there were problems. There were always problems…..David McCollough….The first boat went through the Panama Canal.  It was a test run and the boat was the Alexandre La Valley. The first official trip through was the S.S. Ancon, carrying a cargo of ……..spice? no…….precious stones? No…..furs? No…..money? No….how about cement? Yes, on August 15, 1914.  The Panama Canal is a 48-mile (77.1 km) ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade.

1901-Monday- Stand up yah voracious man-eatin' sonofabitch and receive yir sintince. When yah came to Hinsdale County, there was siven dimmycrats. But you, yah et five of 'em, goddam yah. I sintince yah t' be hanged by th' neck ontil yer dead, dead, dead, as a warnin' ag'in reducin' th' Dimmycratic populayshun of this county. Packer, you Republican cannibal, I would sintince ya ta hell but the statutes forbid it. …newspaper quoting Judge Gerry……..Fittingly, on the same day that Fannie Farmer published her cook book – see 1896 above -  convicted cannibal, Alfred (Alferd) Packer was paroled after serving 18 years in prison.   Packer, who made several confessions, evidently killed and ate his fellow travelers as they made their way through Colorado during severe winter weather. He claimed one of the others was responsible and he killed him (and ate him) in self-defense.  Packer came under suspicion when he arrived in California looking remarkably healthy and carrying the valuables of his “lunches”.

            1924 -Monday It took me three weeks to write the 'Rhapsody in Blue.' I had always wanted to write something blue and Paul Whiteman inspired.....Twenty-six-year-old New York composer George Gershwin completed his  jazz symphony Rhapsody in Blue. In late 1923, bandleader Paul Whiteman began to put together a concert program featuring all American music to be performed on February 12. at Aeolian Hall in New York City. It was to include a new work by George Gershwin.  Whoops! Somehow Gershwin did not realize the word "new" was on the handbill until six weeks before the concert was scheduled - he thought Whiteman would use an existing composition. Whiteman expected a fully symphonic work of jazz material that would fuse jazz and sympony. It was all news to Gershwin. His musical comedy, Sweet Little Devil, was set to open in just three weeks. And now he had to write a concerto by 12 February as well. Gershwin went a composing frenzy. The work was an instant success marked by the  brilliant and complex opening for clarinet which Gershwin worked out with Whiteman's clarinetist Ross Gorman according to the spiritus-temporis.com websitge. Paul Whiteman was the most popular bandleader of the 1920s.

            1925-Wednesday- Remember that the animals and plants have no Member of Parliament they can write to; they can't perform sit-down strikes ... they have nobody to speak for them except us, the human beings who share the world with them, but do not own it. Happy Birthday, Gerald Durell, British conservation biologist and prolific author, born in Jamshedpur, India.  Durell’s  life work was the preservation of endangered animal species. Take a look at Birds, Beasts and Relatives and Zoo in My Luggage.

            1926 –Thursday-  Say goodnight Gracie.  Goodnight George. A social note as George Burns and Gracie Allen were married in Cleveland, Ohio. A man comes out, puts his arms around Gracie, and kisses her, and she kisses him. They wave to each other as he backs offstage. Gracie returns to George center stage Gracie: Who was that?
George: You don't know?
Gracie: No, my mother told me never to talk to strangers.
George: That makes sense.
Gracie: This always happens to me. On my way in, a man stopped me at the stage door and said, "Hiya, cutie, how about a bite tonight after the show?"
George: And you said?
Gracie: I said, "I'll be busy after the show but I'm not doing anything now," so I bit him.
George: Gracie, let me ask you something. Did the nurse ever happen to drop you on your head when you were a baby?
Gracie: Oh, no, we couldn't afford a nurse, my mother had to do it.
George: You had a smart mother.
Gracie: Smartness runs in my family. When I went to school I was so smart my teacher was in my class for five years.
George: Gracie, what school did you go to?
Gracie: I'm not allowed to tell.
George: Why not?
Gracie: The school pays me $25 a month not to tell.
George: Is there anybody in the family as smart as you?
Gracie: My sister Hazel is even smarter. If it wasn't for her, our canary would never have hatched that ostrich egg.
George: A canary hatched an ostrich egg?
Gracie: Yeah...but the canary was too small to cover that big egg.
George: So?
Gracie: So...Hazel sat on the egg and held the canary in her lap.

            1927-Friday-  Hello, baby
Yeah, this is the Big Bopper speakin'
Ha ha ha ha ha, oh you sweet thing
Do I what?
Will I what?
Oh baby, you know what I like
…..The Big Bopper……On the same day that Johann P. Reis (of telephone fame see 1834 above)  was born, long distance telephone service was opened between New York and London. The first caller had to wait until a “customer assistance technician” was available.  He waited because “your call is very important to us”.  He listened to twenty minutes of Al Jolson singing Mammy.

            1927 –Friday-  At first we like to show our dominance and then we entertain you from there. We say we're basketball players first and entertainers second…….The Harlem Globetrotters played their first game, although they were not called  the Harlem Globetrotters.  A basketball team called the Savoy (Big) Five played that initial game at Hinckley, Illinois before a crowd of 300. The total payout for the game was $75. The original lineup for the team’s first game in January 1927: “Toots” Wright, “Fat” Long, “Kid” Oliver, “Runt” Pullins, and Andy Washington. The team wore jerseys with the words "'NEW YORK" printed on them, to give the impression that they were from the city. Under owner Abe Saperstein, their name evolved from "Savoy Big Five" to "Saperstein's New York Globetrotters" to the "Harlem New York Globetrotters" and finally just the "Harlem Globetrotters," all in an effort to make it clear that they were an all-black team that traveled the world. In fact, they didn't actually play a game in Harlem until 1968.

    1939 – Saturday, Wonder is the heaviest element on the periodic table. Even a tiny fleck of it stops time…….Diane Ackerman…….The element Fr (francium) was discoveredium by Marguerite Catherine Perey, a French chemist. Perey was analyzing actinium's decay sequence and whoops, there it was.  Although considered a natural element, scientists estimate that there is no more than one ounce of francium in the earth's crust at one time. Since there is so little naturally occurring francium on earth, scientists must produce francium in order to study it. Francium can be produced by bombarding thorium with protons or by bombarding radium with neutrons or by leaving Twinkies exposed to the air for 10 years. It was the last naturally occurring element to be found and is the heaviest alkali metal atom, with a weight of 223.  Perey’s notebook for this day recorded its half-life as about 20 minutes. In his periodic table, Mendeleev anticipated its discovery, and provisionally named it eka-cesium. Perey gave it the name “francium.” She first used the symbol Fa, but changed it to Fr

1931 –Wednesday- Flying a plane is no different from riding a bicycle. It's just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes…Captain Rex Kramer, Airplane……. Aviator Guy Menzies, fleeing a herd of rabid kangaroos in Sydney, made the first solo trans Tasman flight across the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand which culminated twelve hours later with crash-landing in a swamp in Harihari, a sparsely populated part of the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. The New Zealand history website notes that The 21-year-old had taken off from Mascot aerodrome, Sydney, in Southern Cross Junior, an Avro Avian biplane. To avoid getting into trouble with Australian authorities (or worrying his parents), Menzies declared that he was bound for Perth.

1941 – Tuesday,  Biological energy comes from the sun. Light energy harvested by photosynthesis in chloroplasts and phototropic bacteria becomes stored in carbohydrates and fats. This stored energy can be released by oxidative metabolism in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and used as fuel for other biological processes…….Happy Birthday, John E. Walker,  (Johnny Walker? Red?  Black? Blue?.....how many times did he have to endure that joke?) English chemist born in Halifax, Yorkshire. Walker was was corecipient, with Paul D. Boyer, of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1997 for their explanation of the enzymatic process that creates adenosine triphosphate (ATP) a molecule that transports energy in cells. He also studied human nutritional processes and proteomics, the branch of genetics that studies the full set of proteins encoded by a genome.

         1946-Monday-  My wild Irish Rose, the sweetest flower that grows.
You may search everywhere, but none can compare with my wild Irish Rose.
My wild Irish Rose, the dearest flower that grows,
And some day for my sake, she may let me take the bloom from my wild Irish Rose.
….Chauncey Olcott………Happy Birthday, R. Margaret Kearney, Irish/American pioneer in computer shorthand, office management, Pocono resort retail sails, and low-fat cooking born in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland.

            1953 –Wednesday-  Mama look an H-bomb,  they shout Their mother tell them watch for fallout.  Looka your Daddy, he know.  Was fallout make him ugly so. Hit the dirt.  Join the crowd.  Mama look a mushroom cloud…….Parody, Mad Magazine, Dec. 1957……President Harry Truman announced that the United States had developed a hydrogen bomb. In case you were wondering, the atomic bomb uses nuclear fission, in which big atoms (uranium or plutonium) were split into smaller ones during a chain reaction, that released vast amounts of energy. The hydrogen bomb is not fission but fusion in which atoms (various forms of hydrogen) fuse together to make larger atoms (helium), essentially the same process that occurs in the sun. Fusion bombs are a thousand times more powerful than fission bombs, which are a million times more powerful than chemical ones.  Meanwhile, Communist Russia, world leader in espionagewas busy espionaging America’s Manhattan Project which helped speed up the development of atomic weapons and the Russians would have their own hydrogen bomb within a few months thanks to spies and American traitors.

            1954 –Thursday- When a husband wants to look at the fights and his wife prefers a situation comedy, the Duoscopic provides both at the same time. The set contains two screens and a special mirror that throws one picture onto the other, creating a double image. Polaroid windows filter out the unwanted image, and special earphones carry the separate sound tracks ……Jan. 1954, Newsweek…….The Duoscopic TV receiver was unleashed on an unsuspecting world by Du Mont. Two people could enjoy different TV programs at the same time with a new set. Note: One person could not watch two shows at the same time…..unless he/she was schizophrenic….. The experimental Du Mont Duoscopic was actually two receivers in one cabinet, with two chassis, two sets of controls and two viewing tubes mounted at right angles.  A semitransparent mirror superimposed the two pictures, but each viewer saw only one show by watching through polarizing glasses. Note: it only worked if you wore the glasses and sat at two different angles while watching so we guess may one person could watch two shows if he jumped back and forth between two chairs and kept changing the spectacles.  Earphones provided the sound.  All for just $600.

1955 – Friday,  Reno Smith: I swear, you're beginning to make me mad.
John J. Macreedy: All strangers do, hmm?
Reno Smith: No, they don't. Not all of them. Some do, when they come around snooping...
John J. Macreedy: Snooping for what?
Reno Smith: I don't know, outsiders coming in, looking for something...
John J. Macreedy: Looking for what?
...... The premiere of Bad Day at Black Rock. Stranger comes to town.  Town is hostile to stranger.  It’s a bad day.  The contemporary western was directed by John Sturges and starred Spencer Tracey, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis (and her mole), Walter Brennan, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and everyone who was ever in a 1950’s movie including jittery Dean Jagger,

         1958 – Br-oooo-ken hearted me-eee-lo-dy
Ooooonce you were our song of love
Nooooow you just keep taunting me
Wiiiiith the memory of (ba-da-da)
His tender love
Ooooh, broken hearted melody
Must you keep reminding me
Of the lips I long to kiss
And the love I miss
Since he went away
Night and day they play
………Sarah Vaughn recorded the great Broken Hearted Melody. Songfacts reminds us that Hal David co-wrote this song with composer Sherman Edwards. It was one of the many that he had written before forming his legendary partnership with songwriter Burt Bacharach.

         1963 –Monday,  Don't you know that I danced, I danced till a quarter to three
With the help, last night, of Daddy G.
He was swingin on the
sax like a nobody could
And I was dancin' all over the room.
Oh, don't you know the people were dancin' like they were mad,
it was the swingin'est
band they had, ever had.
It was the swingin'est song that could ever be,
It was a night with Daddy G
……… Gary (U.S) Bonds sued Chubby Checker for $100,000.  At issue was plagerism. Checker’s Dancin’ Party bore an eerie resemblance to Bond’s Quarter to Three. Quarter to Three was released in 1961, Dancin’ Party in 1962.  The case was settled out of court. …. Let's have a ball at the hall tonight
Booth the girl with the early blight
Make a scene with the record machine
At the dancin' party tonight

Come on let's fry the potatoes too
Watusi girl is the dance to do
Twist and shout till we knock ourselves out
At the dancin' party tonight

         1968 –Monday, Laird Grainger: The eternal wonders of space and time. The far away dreams and mysteries of other worlds. Other life. The stars. The planets. Man has been face to face with them for centuries, yet is barely able to penetrate their unknown secrets. Sometime, someday, the barrier will be pierced. Why must we wait? Why not now? …….. 1953, Cat-Women of the Moon………. Surveyor 7, the last of the series to explore potential Moon landing sites, was launched.  It would land on the Moon on January 10. The investigations in the Apollo landing zone were complete so Surveyor 7 could be sent to an area of primarily scientific interest. The flight confirmed the accuracy of the 1953 movie documentary, Cat Women of the Moon proving that it is inhabited by attractive young women in black tights. The site selected was a rugged, rock-strewn ejecta blanket near Tycho Crater. The spacecraft landed less than 1.5 miles from the center of the target circle, about 18 miles north of the rim of crater Tycho where is disovered the elements perkynium. This element sustains the relentlessly perky habitues of morning news/infotainment television shows.  The Surveyor probes were the first U.S. spacecraft to land safely on the Moon. The Surveyor 7 probe also resulted in the displacement of mutant Lunar microbes that were carried to Earth causing the disease of Nounus Into Verbus in which some humans would continuously use the word transtition as a verb as in “they transitioned from urban to rural or “or they transitioned from military to civilian life”.

 1975 –Tuesday, The dream has turned to ashes The wheat has turned to straw And someone asks the question What was the dying for The graves are filled with answers Each one just and true For all men finally reason What else could I do?
I heard the drums The distant guns I tried to turn away But in the end The price of peace Was more than I could pay I have no shame I lay the blame At someone else's door And so the seeds of hate are sown That blow from war to war What for O Lord what for
…… Shenandoah opened at Alvin Theater, and later the Mark Hellinger Theater in NYC, for 1050 performances. Directed by Philip Rose with music and lyrics by Gerry Geld and Peter Udell, the musica starred John Cullum as A pacifist who refused  to participate in the Civil War is drawn into it when one of his sons was abducted and another was slewn.  The play was based on the 1965 movie starring the ever twitchy James Stewart

1976-  Wednesday,  Rufus T. Firefly: Awfully decent of you to drop in today. Do you realize our army is facing disastrous defeat? What do you intend to do about it?
Chicolini: I've done it already.
Rufus T. Firefly: You've done what?
Chicolini: I've changed to the other side.
Rufus T. Firefly: So you're on the other side, eh? Well, what are you doing over here?
Chicolini: Well, the food is better over here.
…….Marx Brothers, Duck Soup…….The bloody conflict known as the “Cod War” was ignited as a British naval frigate was been involved in a collision with an Icelandic gunboat inside the 200 mile exclusion zone for foreign trawlers that Iceland had established.   Britain said Iceland has no right to unilaterally enforce a 200-mile limit until it becomes law, and Iceland said  it wass applying the 200 mile fishery limit agreed by over 100 nations, including Britain, at the 1974 Law of the Sea Conference…..or beita 200 mílna sjávarútvegi mörk samþykkt með yfir 100 þjóðir, þar á meðal Bretlandi , á 1974 Hafréttarstofnun Conference .

1979 – Sunday, I see ... a pile of skulls and bones. For the first time since my arrival, what I see before me is too painful, and I break down completely. These are my relatives, friends and neighbors, I keep thinking ... It is a long time before I am calm again. And then I am able, with my bare hands, to rearrange the skulls and bones so that they are not scattered about…..Dith Pran……….Another war (see above 1976) this time between bad and worse as the Vietnamese army captured the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh overthrowing the murderous Khmer Rouge government. The People’s Party, a Hanoi installed Khmer Rouge faction, took power with Hun Sen as prime minister and Heng Samrin as president. This finally ended the mass genocide depicted in the 1984 film The Killing Fields. Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978 in order to defeat Khmer Rouge troops. The Khmer Rouge was a vicious regime (see Stalin) that committed genocidal crimes against its own people. Inspired by China’s Great Cultural Revolution (see MaoTse Tung) in the 1960s, Polpot and his comrades vowed to “purify the masses of the Cambodians”, killing at least 1.5 million people.

1985 – Monday, Dr. Serizawa: The Oxygen destroyer must not be used!
Ogata: If we do not defend ourselves from Godzilla now, what will become of us?
Dr. Serizawa: And what will become of us if a weapon, such as I now have, falls into the wrong hands?
Ogata: Then you have a responsibility no man has ever faced. You have your fear which might become reality. And you have Godzilla, which is reality.
.....The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched Sakigake, Japan's first interplanetary spacecraft and the first deep space probe to be launched by any country other than the United States or the Soviet Union.  It became part of what is known as the Halley Armada as together with Suisei, the Soviet/French Vega probes, the ESA Giotto and the NASA International Cometary Explorer,  combined to explore Halley's Comet during its 1986 sojourn through the inner solar system.  Sakigake also launched pre-emptive attacks on proto Godzillas, Mothras, Ghuidra the Three-Headed Monster and any others that may attack Tokyo in the future.

1989 – Saturday, Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn
Hair rock treacle as Poison was the  #1 song with Every Rose Has Its Thorn. Poison wilted and was replaced by Bobby Brown’s My Perogative.

         1990- Sunday-  I've been to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It's a tower, and it's leaning. You look at it, but nothing happens, so then you look for someplace to get a sandwich……Danny DeVito…. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was closed to tourists. The tower continued to tilt naturally at the rate of a little over five arc seconds per year. And what, you legitimately ask, is an arc second?  No, it is not rate of two of the pair of animals going onto Noah’s Ark, it is equal to exactly 1/3600 of an angular degree or 1/1,296,000 of a circle. Sixty arc seconds comprise an arc minute; 60 arc minutes comprise an angular degree. One arc second of latitude at the earth's surface corresponds to a north-south distance of only about 31 m. and we hope that clears it up for you.  The  Italian government closed the attraction, sparking screams of outrage by Pisan officials, who feared the loss of tourist revenue and the resulting impact on the local economy. The closure was caused by the collapse of  another tower, the civic tower of Pavia in 1989, which raised fears for the safety of the Pisa tower.  The Leaning Tower was reopened in 2001 after combinations of counterweights, excavated soil and slings finally stabilized it….. Along with the really strong guy who pushed from the other side. Beginning in 1173 as a bell tower for Pisa's cathedral, it wasn't until five years later that began to tilt downward, just after the third floor was completed. As it turned out, the tower was built upon a dense clay mixture that was not nearly strong enough to hold the bell tower, and construction was halted for nearly 100 years.

         1994 –Friday-  Attack of the Fatuous Trailer Trash, continued.  Nancy Kerrigan withdrew from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit. The previous day (see January 6) her right leg was severely bruised in an attack following a practice session.  Turned out it was instigated by slutty fellow skater Tonya Harding, whose slutty ex-husband Jeff Gillooly conspired with  intellectuals Shawn Eckhardt and Shane Stant, taking time from their doctoral studies on the philosophy  of Wittgenstein  vis a v a triple salchow, on the attack.

1998 –Wednesday, I don't know if there are men on the moon, but if there are they must be using the earth as their lunatic asylum……. George Bernard Shaw…. The NASA Lunar Prospector was launched on a mission to survey the Moon from a low polar orbit. The Prospector, which resembled either Gabby Hayes or Walter Brennan,   had goals that included  mapping the surface composition and locating lunar resources, measuring magnetic and gravity fields, and studying outgassing events. The data from this mission, which carried only scientific instruments, complemented the image data from the Clementine mission, which carried mostly cameras and confirmed that the Moon is no placed for a first date since it has no atmosphere.

         1999-Thursday-  President Clinton is an Unusually good liar…..Senator Bob Kerry ……..The  impeachment trial of Presidential stud muffin,  Bill Clinton began in the Senate.  The Arkansas horn dog was charged with lying under oath and obstructing justice. As instructed in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist was sworn in to preside, and the senators were sworn in as jurors.

2004 Wednesday, Our community is known as the home to radio pioneers…… Paul D. Pate, Mayor of Cedar Rapids ……..The first digital radios would on sale in the U.S. A press release noted:  International Consumer Electronics Show -- iBiquity Digital Corporation announced today that an Iowa buyer became "first in the nation" to purchase an HD Radio tuner. Nathan Franzen purchased a Kenwood KTC-HR100 HD Radio tuner from the Ultimate Electronics store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Monday, January 5, 2004. Following installation in his 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix, Franzen tuned to KZIA-FM Z102.9, Cedar Rapids' home for today's hit music, becoming the first consumer nationwide to personally experience the CD-quality sound of HD Radio receiver, the biggest revolution in radio since the advent of FM broadcasting more than fifty years ago.

2011- Friday,  Q: How does every Islamic joke start? A: By looking over your shoulder……….. Ooh those cuddly 7th century Muslims. In the Islamic-controlled town of Jowhar, Somalia, men and women were banned from shaking hands with each other. The Islamic group al-Shabab also banned women and men from walking with each other or talking to each other in public unless they were related.  

2013Monday, Stealing, of course, is a crime, and a very impolite thing to do. But like most impolite things, it is excusable under certain circumstances. Stealing is not excusable if, for instance, you are in a museum and you decide that a certain painting would look better in your house, and you simply grab the painting and take it there …..Lemony Snicket…..A missing Henri Matisse painting titled Le Jardin, stolen from the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm in 1987, was found by an art recovery specialist, Charles Roberts,  who successfully negotiated the return of the painting from an unidentified 85 year old man who would not say how he obtained the painting.

2014Tuesday.  I know a place where we gotta go
Baby, come on, come on, hurry up let's go
No more grind in the daily gruel
Draining the life out of me
No more work and no more rules
Only one place to be
On the beach, on the beach, on the beach
I can't stand this place cause it's such a bore
I just got to escape get to the shore
…….Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes…..So much for a day at the beach as a forty-two year old Taiwanese man was rescued after being stranded in the sea. The genius claimed to have been swept away by waves while visiting a beach. Don’t you hate when that happens?  He was able to stay afloat by holding on to a piece of wood and was found washed up on another beach in very wrinkly condition after being in the ocean for sixty



871 Monday,  There is nothin' like a Dane,
Nothin' in the world,
There is nothin' you can name
That is anything like a Dane!
......apologies to Rogers and Hammerstein….. other Ethelred “the Unready” and his brother, Alfred, later “the Great,  led  a West Saxon army to repelled an invasion by Danelaw Vikings.  The Danes had occupied London, not then the English capital, but just  a town in the kingdom of Mercia. This was the battle of Ashdown while the Danes were stopped, they would just keep coming and Alfred would sue for peace.  Ultimately, this gave him 5 years or so to rebuild his strength and he would emerge victorious as “the Great”.

1198 - Thursday    Verily the representative of Christ, the successor of Peter, the anointed of the Lord, the God of Pharaoh set midway between God and man, below God but above man, less than God but more than man, judging all other men, but himself judged by none…………One of the better Popes,  Lotario de Conti di Sengi became Pope Innocent III.  He raised the papacy to an acme of papal prestige and power, and Christian Europe came close to being a unified theocracy with no internal contradictions. He oversaw 2 crusades and started the slimy practice of fees for indulgences for the Church's treasury. Innocent also hired Italian merchant bankers to manage papal funds and sanctioned the new Franciscan and Dominican orders. He is regarded as one of the 10 greatest Popes.  Bad Popes?  Oy gevalt! Lots.  Too many.  And yet the Church endures. 

1297 – Tuesday, I love driving at Monaco but the rest of it, well, I can absolutely take it or leave it. It's extremely pretentious and really not my cup of tea. …Mark Webber……François Grimaldi, of Genoese ancestry, disguised as a monk, leads his men to capture the fortress protecting the Rock of Monaco turning it into a base of operations against the Genoese Ghibellines. While this established his family as the rulers of Monaco they have been ousted and returned several times over the centuries.  With the Treaty of Paris of 1814, they regained the principality including Rainier III who married movie star, Grace Kelly and sired a brood of  bratty societietal buffoons.

1587 –Sunday, Having adjusted the telescope, we allowed the sun's rays to enter it, at first from the edge only, gradually approaching the center, until our eyes were accustomed to the force of the rays and we could observe the whole body of the sun. We then saw more distinctly and surely the things I have described..sunspots…….. Hartelijk gefeliciteerd!/Happy Birthday,  Johannes Fabricius Dutch astronomer born in Resterhafe. Fabricius, who went kaput at age 29,  is generally acknowledged to be the first to observe sunspots. Just about a year after Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter, in Mar 1611, at dawn, Johannes was looking through his telescope at the rising sun and saw several dark spots on it. Yes, he had spots before his eyes. He called his father, also an astronomer, to investigate this new phenomenon. The sun became too bright for direct observation so they used a camera obscura. Johannes was the first to publish information on such observations.Fabricius promptly completed an account of their observations and interpretation, which was published in June 1611 under the title de Maculis in Sole observatis et apparente earum cum Soleconversione, Narratio (Account of Spots observed on the Sun and of their apparent rotation with the Sun)

            1642 –Wednesday-  All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. ……Galileo Galileo kaput. Born in 1564, the same year as Shakespeare was born and the same year that Michelangelo died…..1642 was also the year that Isaac Newton was born (OS).  Galileo pioneered the "experimental scientific method", built the first high-powered astronomical telescope; invented a horse-powered pump to raise water; demonstrated that the velocities of falling bodies are not proportional to their weights; described the true parabolic paths of cannonballs and other projectiles; developed the ideas behind Newton's laws of motion; and confirmed the Copernican theory of the solar system. Oh yes, he discovered the first four moons of Jupiter too.

            1746 –Saturday-  Will ye no come back again ….Scottish lament after Charles returned to France……….Bonnie Prince Charlie occupied Stirling in Scotland.  He took the “Pretender’s Suite” on the 3rd floor which featured an, a wet bar, breakfast service,  ensuite garderobe and available wenches. Charlie, actually, Charles Stuart, was the Jacobite pretender to the British Throne.  He was the son of the Catholic James III, who was the son of the conspicuously incompetent (a Stuart trait) James II (supporters of James were called Jacobites) who was driven into exile by Parliament and the Protestant William and Mary in 1688.  Charlie, like Mary, Queen of Scots, is more glamorous in legend than in real life. Although brave and honorable, he was ineffectual and continually suffered from bad decisions and worse luck, in fact another of his nicknames was “Old Mr. Misfortune”. Charlie’s base of support was Scotland, but only part of Scotland.  Some areas of the Highlands and Lowlands (the weathy) supported the Hanovers of England (via Germany).   Taking Edinburgh and Stirling (site of William Wallace’s great victory) was the high water mark of his attempt to take the throne. He should have stopped there but foolishly moved towards London, lost his nerve, lost most of his troops –they were content with re-taking Scotland and went home- retreated and was cornered and defeated at the disastrous Battle of Culloden.

1790       I embrace with great satisfaction the opportunity which now presents itself of congratulating you on the present favorable prospects of our public affairs. The recent accession of the important state of North Carolina to the Constitution of the United States (of which official information has been received), the rising credit and respectability of our country, the general and increasing good will toward the government of the Union, and the concord, peace, and plenty with which we are blessed are circumstances auspicious in an eminent degree to our national prosperity….. President Washington delivered the 1st "State of the Union" address in NYC.  “Well, we’be been  a union for a few months now so it’s pretty good.”  Actually, Washington urged the second session of the 1st United States Congress to with creating a competent fund designated for defraying the expenses incident to the conduct of our foreign affairs, a uniform rule of naturalization, and Uniformity in the Currency, Weights and Measures of the United States.

1798 –Monday,     The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.  The first one after The Bill of Rights,  the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was declared in effect by President John Adams nearly three years after its ratification by the states; it prohibited a citizen of one state from suing another state in federal court.  Not very earth shattering like ending slavery or giving women the vote but there had been confusion going back to a 1793 Supreme Court decision Chisholm v. Georgia which seemed to indicate that such suits were permitted.

1815-Sunday In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans.
We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin' on
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico
.………Johnny Horton……………The Battle of New Orleans, the most decisive battle of the War of 1812 occurred. Unfortunately, the War of 1812 had ended almost 2 weeks before with the Treaty of Ghent (Belgium). Word had not reached the U.S and the British attacked New Orleans which was defended by General Andrew Jackson. Pirate Jean Lafitte had assisted by warning him of the impending attack.  The actual battle lasted about 30 minutes as Jackson’s sharpshooters killed or wounded over 2,000 British troops including the commanding general, Sir Edward Peckenham. For an accurate description of the battle listen to Johnny Horton’s recording of  Battle of New Orleans

1821-Monday- The surrender of the Confederate armies in 1865 involved: 1. The surrender of the claim to the right of secession. 2. The surrender of the former political relations of the negro. 3. The surrender of the Southern Confederacy. These issues expired on the fields last occupied by the Confederate armies. There they should have been buried. The soldier prefers to have the sod that receives him when he falls cover his remains. The political questions of the war should have been buried upon the fields that marked their end. ….. Happy Birthday, Confederate General James Longstreet. Robert E. Lee called him his “Old War Horse” born in in Edgefield District, South Carolina.   The soldiers called him “Old Pete”. Longstreet served as a lieutenant general in the Confederate States Army  He came under severe criticism from Southern loyalists after the war when he questioned Lee’s strategy at Gettysburg. It should be noted that his own delays in preparation and ultimately hours late  attack on the Union  flank played a major role in the Union’s successful defense of that area which included the “Devil’s Den”, and the failure to take Little Round Top. Like Stonewall Jackson,(Chancellorsville)  he was shot by his troops, with his occuring during the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864.  Unlike Jackson who became kaput, Longstreet recovered and resumed command in October during the Petersburg operations and commanded on the north side of the James. He remained with Lee through the surrender at Appomattox. After the war he befriended Grant and became (gasp!) a Republican. He served as Grant's minister to Turkey.

1838 –Monday- Dit dot ditty dit dot a ditty ditty . Baby home to me.

I sent my baby a telegram asking to be her man
Begging her to come back home to me (Baby come home to me)
Oh I dotted the I's and I crossed the T's
And I'm begging pretty please
Honey honey, come back home to me (Baby come home to me)
Dit dotÉ..
Baby I want your love
Baby I need your love
Honey honey come back home to me (Come back home to me)
…..The Capris……..Morse Code of Love…………..“A patient waiter is no loser” – that’s the first telegraph message in the U.S. in which letters were represented by dots and dashes was transmitted. The communications system had been invented by Alfred Vail of Morristown, N.J., in Sep 1837. It then took weeks to figure out what they were talking about…..evidently they had never listened to some restaurant patrons who would try the patience of a saint let alone a waiter.....and wade through the vale of dots and dashes. Vail’s general plan was to employ the simplest and shortest combinations to represent the most frequently recurring letters of the English alphabet, and the remainder for the more infrequent ones. He found upon investigation that the letter e occurs much more frequently than any other letter, and accordingly he assigned to it the shortest symbol, a single dot(.). On the other hand, j, which occurs infrequently, is expressed by dash-dot-dash-dot (-.-.) Eventually, Vail visited the office of the Morristown local newspaper, where be found the whole problem worked out for him in the type cases of the compositor.  See The Century: Illustrated Monthly Magazine, April, 1888, by Franklin Pope, titled "The American Inventors of the Telegraph, with special references to the services of Alfred Vail" on the telegraph-office.com website.  

            1856 –Tuesday- …..Ain't have no other career choice, he dropped out
Since when the Way-Outs included Zorak
Way back he used to rub his thorax in Borax
……DangerDoom……. Borax (hydrated sodium borate) was discovered by Dr. John Veatch near Red Bluff, California. Veatch later noted that the discovery was accidental, sparked by the presence in the region of an Englishman who had formerly worked for a London borax company. It was found next to the dirty laundry of Johnny Jim Custerpoof, itinerant prospector and Cartesian philosopher.  Four years later, he found borax in Little Borax Lake, four miles to the west.  For hundreds of  years, Tibet was almost the only source known until the discovery in 1776 and subsequent development in  1820 of Italian springs of boric acid (hydrogen tetraborate), which could be converted by the addition of soda (sodium carbonate) into borax. Italy became the principal source of borax until the 1860s, when desert areas in Chile and then the U.S began to supply borax.  While borax became important in the European Middle Ages as a flux for soldering, i.e, cleaning the surfaces of metal pieces to be joined by being melted together, it was one Stephen Mather who began promoting borax  in 1896, starting with a pamphlet advertising two hundred "recipes" for borax. The stuff became very popular in  washing powders, glass, and ceramic glazes.  It’s also good for killing ants.

1872 –Monday- You know an odd feeling? Sitting on the toilet eating a chocolate candy bar….George Carlin …..Definitely a gentleman with a unique mind as a  patent was issued (we’ve also seen this as January 9) to Black American inventor Thomas Elkins for furniture he called a "Chamber Commode". It provided a combination of "a bureau, mirror, book-rack, washstand, table, easy-chair, and earth-closet or chamber-stool," – so while relieving one’s self one might fold one’s clothes, in the bureau, comb one’s hair in the mirror, select a book, wash, eat dinner at the table, but just look at the easy chair – one wouldn’t want to use it until one was finished with the commode…… Previously Elkins had patented a "Dining, Ironing Table and Quilting Frame Combined". Elkins was clearly into multitasking. Still another patent was  issued for a "Refrigerating Apparatus" for "food or corpses," which provides a convenient container and method of chilling using the evaporation of water to preserve the recently kaputed.

1877 –  Monday, Another white man's trick! Let me go! Let me die fighting! …Less than a year after the great victory over ego driven George Custer at Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse and his warriors fought their last battle against the United States Cavalry at Wolf Mountain, Montana Territory.  Colonel Nelson A. Miles had decided on a strategy of constant pursuit and attack upon the Lakota and Cheyenne villages who had not surrendered. The plan was to attack Indian villages in the coldest weather. On May 6, 1877, he rode to Fort Robinson in Nebraska and surrendered.  In September, during a “struggle” with officers, he was bayoneted and rendered kaput. He was 35 years old.

            1889- Tuesday-  You can count on me, you can count on me.
As the adding machine once said, you can count on me.
Two four six eight, who do we appreciate?
You can count on me…
…Frank Sinatra…… The tabulating machine was patented by Herman Hollerith. The U.S. Census Bureau had recognized that its traditional counting methods (“another one and another one, and one over there and…..) would be inadequate for measuring the expanding population. Note; they still are. As a result, the Bureau sponsored a contest to find a more efficient means of tabulating census data. The winner was Herman Hollerith.  Hollerith, now regarded as “the father of modern automatic computation” (we add him to the long list of “fathers of……..” explored in the Gnus)  believed “it all adds up”, and proposed to store information in the form of holes punched through a strip of paper. Hollerith switched to punched cards in 1886 and obtained a second patent in 1887. Wish we’d said it but the Columbia University history site describes  Hollerith's contributions to modern computing as... "incalculable" 

1891 – Thursday,  Two atoms were walking across a road when one of them said, "I think I lost an electron!" "Really!" the other replied, "Are you sure?" "Yes, I 'm absolutely positive."…….. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!/Happy Birthday, Walther Wilhelm Georg Bothe German physicist born in Oranienburg. Bothe shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1954 with Max Born for his invention of a new method of detecting subatomic particles and for other resulting discoveries. He developed the coincidence method of detecting the emission of electrons by x-rays in which electrons passing through two adjacent Geiger tubes at almost the same time are registered as a coincidental event. This demonstrated that momentum and energy are conserved at the atomic level. He applied the method to the study of cosmic rays and was able to show that they consisted of massive particles rather than photons. In 1930, he observed a strange radiation emitted from beryllium when it was exposed to alpha particles, later identified by Chadwick as Oprah Winfrey.  Actually, the particles consisted of consisting of neutrons.

            1905-Sunday-  How many Logical Positivists does it take to change a light bulb? No room for humor here - it's purely an empirical question……Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!/Happy Birthday, Carl Gustav Hempel,  German-born U.S. philosopher born in Oranienburg – of all places, see Walther Bothe, 1891 above. Hempel emigrated to the U.S in 1937 to escape the Nazis, and was one of the leaders of the philosophy school  of Logical Positivism which is the assertion of the primacy of observation in assessing the truth of statements of fact and holding that metaphysical and subjective arguments not based on observable data are meaningless. It’s also called logical empiricism, Hempel was logically positive about that! Logical and mathematical statements reveal only the basic structure of language, but are not essentially descriptive of the physical world.

            1905-Sunday-  If you're idle and lonesome too
Don't know what to do
Here's a tip from me to you
And it's solid too
 Chew Chew Chew Chew your bubble gum…….
Barney Bigard…..And born on the same day as Carl Hempel! Happy Birthday, Walter Diemer (who also died on his birthday in 1995), American accountant born in Philadelphia.  Diemer invented bubble gum in 1928.  Diemer worked as an accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Company in Philadelphia, now famous for their collectible baseball cards. He was chewing over the idea of a less sticky gum of the very first bubble gum invented by Frank Henry Fleer in 1906. Fleer fetchingly called it Blibber-Blubber. Fleer's recipe was later perfected by Diemer, who called his product Double Bubble  and he  bubbled over with enthusiasm at his discovery. Since the first batch, the pink color is still standard.    So there you have it. Logical Positivism and bubble gum on the same day. A Science Gnus exclusive. Only the Editorial Board of the Gnus makes these connections. 

1908 –Wednesday,   A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat……anonymous………..The subway linking New York’s Brooklyn and Manhattan opened. It ran through the Joralemon Street Tunnel, which opened on Jan. 1, 1908 and was the first tunnel to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn. Clifford Milburn Holland, the namesake of the Holland Tunnel, served as an assistant engineer on the project. The existing subway lines were operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, (IRT) which was the first subway company in the city and was contracted by the city of New York and built by financier, August Belmont.

1918- Tuesday- The evacuation from Anzac was not by any means a defeat, but it became obvious we could do no good there and were getting hell from the new, bigger Turkish guns, but we had attempted the impossible at the Dardanelles and the Turks can make a very good story of their victory……Captain Bill Knox …….The disastrous military initiative and battle that almost resulted in the end of First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill’s career – Gallipoli- ended as the Allies withdrew their last troops from the Turkish peninsula. Over 250,000 casualties resulted from the ill-advised, disastrous attempt to relieve pressure on the Russians fighting the Turks on the eastern front by attacking the Gallipoli peninsula  The Gallipoli Campaign cost the Allies 141,113 killed and wounded and the Turks 195,000 casualties. It  proved to be the Turks' greatest victory of World War I. In London, the campaign's failure led to the demotion of Churchill to fry cook  at the Downing Street Burger King and contributed to the collapse of Prime Minister H. H. Asquith's government. The fighting at Gallipoli proved a galvanizing national experience for Australia and New Zealand, which had not previously fought in a major conflict with the resulting horrific casualties. As a result, the anniversary of the landings, April 25, is celebrated as ANZAC Day and is both nations' most significant day of military remembrance.

         1926 –Friday-  Hey, do the mouse, yeah,
Hey, you can do it in your house yeah,
On the rug, or on the wall
If your folks get bugged do it in the hall
Do the Mouse yeah let's do the mouse
Come-on do the mouse with me
Hey, do the mouse, yeah,
Hey, do it all around your house, yeah
, ……Soupy Sales……..Happy Birthday, Soupy Sales, (Milton Supman), born in Franklinton, North Carolina. Soupy, one of Professor Sy Yentz favorite comedians and a Logical Positivist, starred, along with White Fang ,Black Tooth, Pookie and Hippy in Lunch with Soupy Sales and The Soupy Sales Show.

         1935- Tuesday- The spectrophotometer turns to the centrifuge and saysLook at him! What the hell does he think his job is?!” Centrifuge repliesOh, he's just cloning around ………Arthur Hardy (brother of Laurelen Hardy) received a patent for his spectrophotometer.  In addition to being a great word for a spelling bee or Scrabble, 28 points but 56 or 84 if you do a double or triple square,  the instrument measures light in the visible spectrum.  It could detect two million different shades of color (or about as many as a really large box of crayola crayons) and make a permanent record chart of the results.

         1935 –Tuesday-  I'm trying to keep a level head. You have to be careful out in the world. It's so easy to get turned.

Happy Birthday, Elvis Presley, cultural icon and originally a pretty good  Rock n Roll singer …….at least the pre army Elvis…..born in Tupelo, Mississippi.  The post army Elvis was spotty. Thanks Col. Tom Parker.  For every Stuck on You or Devil in Disguise, he came out with Bossa Nova Baby, or Do The Clam.  During his amazing career, Presley helped popularize rock and roll music in America. He even won three Grammy Awards for his gospel recordings. Presley had eighteen number one singles, including Don’t Be Cruel, Hound Dog (a double sided hit – Hound Dog was the B side) and Suspicious Minds as well as countless gold and platinum albums. He was one of the first performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He was also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Stupid Costumes Worn in Vegas Hall of Fame.  Elvis also made his contribution to cinema greatness with Ingmar Bergmanesque movies such as Clambake, Harem Scarem, and Change of Habit.  A bloated charicature of himself, he gave his last concert in June 1977 in Indianapolis, Indiana. After the concert, Presley returned home to his Memphis mansion, Graceland.  Sometime on the morning of August 16, he went kaput. He was only 42 years old.  Even though  Elvis went kaput in 1977 he  is continuously seen in super markets, convenience stores, rocks on Mars, clouds, blood stains and every single casino in Las Vegas.

         1942-Thursday Can you believe it? Soupy Sales, Elvis Presley and Stephen Hawking share a birthday. Also born on this day, Little Anthony (of Little Anthony and the Imperials), David Bowie (formerly David Jones) and Shirley Bassey (Goldfinger)………..  My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all. …….Happy Birthday, Stephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist born in Oxford. His principal areas of research were theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity. Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, the chair formerly held by Sir Isaac Newton. The author of the best seller A Brief History of Time. he had Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; ALS), and spent his career  confined to a wheelchair and  unable to speak without the aid of a computer voice synthesizer. However, despite his challenges, he made remarkable contributions to the field of cosmology, which as all cosmologists (and even cosmetologists) know is not the art of applying make-up but the study of the universe as a whole or maybe applying make up to the universe.  

         1951  - Monday,     When I hear of the destruction of a species, I feel just as if all the works of some great writer have perished." ….Theodore Roosevelt…..  Holy cahow! A cahow, thought extinct since 1615, was rediscovered in Bermuda.  The presumed extinction of the cahow, aka Bermuda petrel, a nocturnal seabird,  was proved to be wrong when 18 breeding pairs were discovered by biologists Robert Cushman, Louis Mowbray, and 15-year-old David Wingate. The birds were nesting on a series of small islets that now compose the Castle Harbour Islands National Park.  There are currently 70 breeding pairs of adult cahows in the world, and an estimated 65 juveniles remain at sea. The birds are only found on land on these islets during the breeding season. Wingate proceeded to make a life time goal of saving the bird from extinction.

1953-Thursday-  Get the bread, milk and toilet paper even if you don’t need them…..John Cafarella………A severe ice storm left over 4 inches of  the slippery stuff on eastern Pennsylvania and 3” of ice on southeastern N.Y. Over 70,000 homes were left without power. Now that Professor Sy Yentz lives in the Pocono Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania he knows that this is normal.  Poconoids don’t even give it a second thought.  Professor Yentz hates it!  In fact, the Professor’s street is the focal point, and meteorological Mecca for any snow or ice weather system that develops in the Western Hemisphere.  No matter what direction the system is moving, it will make left turns, right turn, U-Turns, hitch rides, and even sit in the middle seat on Southwest Airlines to it can get to the Poconos, usually on a day that Professor Sy Yentz has an appointment.

         1953 –Thursday - Reece Duncan: I'm just warning you. No animal on my property, branded or not, is a stray. Whatever you pick up on the open range is yours. Anything you take from me has lead coming after it………. The premiere of The Redhead from Wyoming, which IMBd tells us is about “the queen of an outlaw’s lair”. Directed by Lee Sholem and starring redheaded Maureen O’Hara, the western featured Robert Strauss (Stalag 17  and 96 appearances on television shows), Alexander Scourby who would seemingly narrate every documentary made in the 60s and 70s, Jack Kelly, who would play Brett Maverick’s brother, Bart on Maverick, and Dennis Weaver who would go on to fame as Chester on Gunsmoke, and Sam McCloud on McLoud the television series based on Clint Eastwood’s Coogan’s Bluff. Coogan’s bluff is the hill in upper Manhattan where the Polo Grounds was located and the New York Giants played before moving to San Francisco but that’s a long way from Wyoming where we started

1958 – Wednesday,  Man, Beast, or Alien……blurb…..The premiere of Teenage Monster No, it is not a documentary about the typical adolescent. IMdb sums this dark, brooding Felliniesque piece of cinematic art as -  In 1880 a young boy is exposed to the effects of a meteor and becomes ugly killer monster, as his mother hides him in her new house and tries to stop his killing.  Starring no one we ever heard of including Anne Gwynn and Stuart Wade and directed by Jacques R. Marquette, the movie took in a grand total of $57,000 at the box office. The title was changed from Meteor Monster to take advantage of the late 50’f fad of I Was a Teenage…..movies which included I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Teenage Caveman, Teenagers from Outer Space and Teenage Zombies.

1963 –Tuesday,  Mona Lisa looks as if she has just been sick, or is about to be….. Noel Coward….Leonardo da Vinci's 16th century portrait,  Mona Lisa was exhibited in the United States for the first time, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Displayed in the West Sculpture Hall on the Main Floor from this date until February 3, the National Gallery brochure noted - This special one-picture loan was made directly to the President of the United States and the American people by the government of the French Republic. The French Minister of Cultural Affairs, André Malraux, accompanied the painting to the United States. All arrangements were handled by the White House. A special viewing was held on Tuesday, January 8, for President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, the Cabinet, the Supreme Court, the Congress, and the Diplomatic Corps.

 1964 –Wednesday,  This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in AmericaPresident Lyndon B. Johnson declared a "War on Poverty" in the United States.  Well that certainly worked out well. As the Washington Times noted in 2012 (it’s gotten worse since then) Since then, the taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson's war. Adjusted for inflation, that's three times the cost of all military wars since the American Revolution.  The federal government currently runs more than 80 means-tested welfare programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care and targeted social services to poor and low-income Americans. As the Bobby Fuller Four might say, I fought the poverty and the poverty won……

         1966-Saturday Sensational young international stars showcase the latest in song and dance...the music that moves today's youth! …….Tagline………On a sad note, this was the last episode of Shindig, one of the more prodigious cultural highlights of the 60’s. Shindig was a rock and roll variety show that debuted on September 16, 1964. Hosted by Jimmy Neil, the house band included guitar legend, James Burton, Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, and Billy Preston. The house back up “girl group”, the Blossoms, featured the great Darlene Love. Guests ran the gamut from the Everly Brothers and Righteous Brothers on the first show to The Who and the The Kinks on the final show. Of course in between came shows with Donna Loren, Bobby Sherman, and a singing Patty Duke.

         1973 –Monday  Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. …Anton Chekhov….The Soviet space mission Luna 21 was launched. The spacecraft landed on the Moon and deployed the second Soviet lunar rover (Lunokhod 2). The primary objectives of the mission were to collect images of the lunar surface, and find the real birthplace of Leonid Brezhnev.  NASA notes that  on June 4 it was announced that the program was completed, leading to speculation that the vehicle probably failed in mid-May or could not be revived after the lunar night of May-June. The Lunokhod laser retroreflector is still used by Earth-based stations for laser ranging. A follow up launch sent a KGB craft to the Moon to punish Luna 21 as a capitalist bourgeoisie that mercilessly exploited the proletariat.

1981Thursday, If instead of saucers, UFOs looked more like breasts, I’ll bet there’d be a lot more people trying to take pictures of them…..Jarod Kintz…..A local farmer reported a UFO sighting in Trans-en-Provence, France, claimed to be "perhaps the most completely and carefully documented sighting of all time" (according to the Xeroxian World of the Internet) . A 52-year-old technician, Renato Nicolai, was outside working on an upper-level terraced portion of his property at about 5:00 p.m. when he heard a whistling sound to the east. He turned  and saw an object resembling "a somewhat bulging disk like two plates glued to each other by the rim, with a central ring some 20 cm wide." The disc passed over two trees adjacent to his garden, descended, and abruptly landed about 50 meters away. After some seconds on the ground, the object ascended, kicking up some dust, and retraced its incoming flight path, once again emitting a low whistle, and disappeared in the east because of of course aliens would travel billions of miles just to see if Provence is really that nice.  As it flew away, Nicolai saw two round protrusions on the underside like landing gear, and two circular areas that looked like "trap doors." The total elapsed time was 30-40 seconds. Since the craft left markings on the ground, the French government analyzed them and found them to be evidence of anomalous activity…..rendering UFO believers orgasmic all over the world.

1982 Friday, Do do do
Down dooby doo down down
Comma, comma, down dooby doo down down
Comma, comma, down dooby doo down down
Breaking up is hard to do
…..Neil Sedaka…..Beginning the  breakup of the Bell System: AT&T agreed to divest itself of twenty-two subdivisions, all the vowels on the dial and one of the two little buttons on the cradle rest. Enriching hundreds of lawyers, The case began in 1974, was decided against AT&T on this day,  and the breakup plan was formalized throughout 1983. Ma Bell was ordered to give up local calling services to smaller regional spinoffs  which came to be dubbed the Baby Bells. The parent company would hold on to its long distance business and be allowed to move into computer and Internet businesses.

1992-Wednesday-  It's never polite to throw up on your hosts, no matter how sick you are. …….Time Magazine……..President George H.W Bush, suffering from “stomach flu”, tossed his cookies all over the lap of the Japanese Prime Minister, Kiichi Miyazawa. Bush then said, “that’s for Pearl Harbor and Iron Chef”.  Ooowee! That sushi will get you every time.

            1993 –Friday- I gave a letter to the postman,
He put it his sack.
Bright in early next morning,
He brought my letter back.
She wrote upon it:
Return to sender, address unknown.
No such number, no such zone
Elvis Presley became the first rock musician featured on a postage stamp. The stamp, which featured a young, slim Elvis when purchased, but the stamp grew duller, repetitive, fatter and paunchier with age and ultimately could only be used in Las Vegas. It was issued on what would have been his 58th birthday.

            1994 -Saturday When his capsule landed in Kazakhstan he walked from it to a nearby chair, a tremendous achievement.  He also stole a cigarette from a friend nearby, but could hardly be blamed for that. He sipped a small brandy and inwardly celebrated his mission…….Philip Baker…….. Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov on Soyuz TM-18 (“I Soyuz Standing There”) left for the space station Mir (the Mir the Merrier). He would stay on the space station until March 22, 1995, for a then record 437 days in space. He refused to come back to Earth until someone would explain the plot of Lost to him.  Polyakov, a medical doctor, said that he volunteered for the extra-long mission to prove that the human body could survive microgravity long enough to make a trip to Mars.

            1998-Thursday-  Winston Tastes Good, Like a Cigarette Should……ad….Scientists identified a chemical compound which explained how nicotine becomes addictive.  Like many drugs, the addictive elements of nicotine are connected with the release of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, in the brain. People get addicted because of the rapid activation that leads to the dopamine release. They enjoy it. They want more.  They miss it when they don’t have it.  Just like their Smart Phones. So dopamine is why smokers are dopes. The discovery was made when scientists found the first of 11 sub-units, or molecules, of the nicotine receptor in the brain of mice. The mice had been enjoying a relaxing post-coital cigarette when suddenly their brains were ripped out and…………..

            2002 –Tuesday-  But to go to school in a summer morn,
Oh, it drives all joy away!
Under a cruel eye outworn,
The little ones spend the day—
In sighing and dismay…
..William Blake…… President George W. Bush, possibly still feeling guilt over his father’s  regurgitative assault on the Japanese prime minister, Kiichi Miyazawa (see 1992 above)   signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act. No Child Left Behind (NCLB or “Nickleby” as it is known to the educational congescenti) covers all states, school districts, and schools that accept Title 1 federal grants. Title 1 grants provide funding for remedial education programs for poor and disadvantaged children in public schools, and in some private programs. NCLB applies differently to Title 1 schools than to schools that do not receive Title 1 grants. However, one way or another, this law covers all public schools in all states. NCLB emphasizes accountability and teaching methods that work. Naturally, it is controversial.  Accountability in education? …..Can you imagine?

             2004 –Thursday- The Queen Mary 2 is famous for making her regular transatlantic crossings from London (Southampton) to New York. During these crossings passengers are welcomed to participate in tons of activities. During the day you can take acting classes hosted by performers from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art or get some exercise playing a tennis match on the Sports Court. The liner’s piece de resistance is the full-scale planetarium, where you can gaze above as you learn about the mysteries of the universe. At night get ready to break out your dancing shoes when you attend a formal ball. All throughout your cruise you’ll be meet with helpful staff and taste some of the finest food at sea. It’s truly a royal sailing experience.  …..Overview blurb…..RMS Queen Mary 2, the largest passenger ship ever built, was christened by Queen Elizabeth II, the granddaughter of Queen Mary, wife of King George V. The Queen Mary 2 is still the largest ocean liner.  Several cruise ships, you know, the ones that sail into hurricanes or have large scale disease outbreaks or have spouses disappear during honeymoons have surpassed the Queen in ocean going giganticism.

            2005 –Old joke - One foggy night, a United States Aircraft Carrier was cruising off the coast of Newfoundland and the junior radar operator spotted a light in the gloom.  Here is a transcript of what happened next. The radar operator worked out that a collision was likely unless the other vessel changed its course.  So he sent a radio message. U.S. Aircraft Carrier Radar Officer:
'Please divert your course at least 7 degrees to the south to avoid a collision'. Back came the reply: 'You must be joking, I recommend you divert your course instead'. The U.S. Radar Officer referred the matter to his superior officer.  And reported the incident as subordination.As a result the Captain of the Air Craft Carrier sent a second message.  'I believe that I out rank you, and am giving you a direct order to divert your course now!!!'Radio Operator: 'This is a lighthouse.  I suggest you take evasive action.'
……………….. The nuclear submarine  USS San Francisco collided at full speed with an uncharted undersea mountain 350 south of Guam while travelling at high speed about 500 ft below surface. The submarine was able to surface and head back to Guam. One sailor was killed. An investigation revealed that other charts onboard the sub clearly displayed a navigation hazard in the vicinity of the grounding. San Francisco’s navigation team failed to review those charts adequately and transfer pertinent data to the chart being used for navigation, as relevant directives and the ship’s own procedures required…..Whew!  That’s telling them off.

2007 Monday,  Twinkle, twinkle, quasi-star
Biggest puzzle from afar
How unlike the other ones
Brighter than a billion suns
Twinkle, twinkle, quasi-star
How I wonder what you are.
…George Gamow….. The discovery of the first example of a “triple quasar” is announced at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle. The discovery was made by a team at Hawaii’s VM Keck Observatory. Although 100,000 single quasars and a few binary quasars are known, a triple quasar had never been discovered. The three galaxies (and their actively feeding black holes) are located about 10.5 billion years away, which also means that we’re seeing them 10.5 billion years ago; a time when galaxies were regularly interacting and colliding. Quasars are the furthest objects away from our galaxy that can be seen. They are extremely bright masses of energy and light. The name quasar is actually short for quasi-stellar radio source or quasi-stellar object. They are also believed to be the point of origin for  people who populate university diversity departments.

2010 - I woke up this morning,
And I looked all around.
I was looking for my monkey,

My monkey couldn't be found.

I called the police department,
Put out an APB.
So if you find my monkey,
Send her on home to me
……Zachary Richard………In Puerto Rico officials said they had killed 800 monkeys blamed for scavenging crops and damaging natural resources in southwest region to tossing banana peels in front of pedestrians. Most of those killed were patas monkeys. They were killed “humanely”.  After capture the monkeys were forced to watch a Donald Trump appearance on Meet the Press on a 24 hour loop. About 200 rhesus monkeys were captured sent to the Caribbean Primate Research Center at the University of Puerto Rico and to other countries. The monkeys had escaped from research labs in the 1960s and '70s. They adapted easily, fueled by plentiful crops, including pineapple, melon and the eggs of wild birds. The monkeys were originally bred for their kidney epithelial cells, to make the polio vaccine.

2014 Wednesday. If I ever had twins, I'd use one for parts. …Steven Wright…..Officials in Mexico found two gray whale calves in the  Ojo de Liebre lagoon, in Baja California. They were Siamese Twin, conjoined whale calves. The whales were alive at first but died soon after their birth. The conjoined twinsmeasured about seven to ten feet (two to three meters) in length but could have grown to hundreds or thousands of feet and attacked Tokyo.



1007-Friday Out of the night when the full moon is bright comes a Viking name of Snorro…..John Cafarella…… Approximate birthday of Snorro (possibly named after the sound his father made while sleeping), another of the seemingly endless list of children who are identified at one time or another  as “the first Caucasian child in North America”. Snorro Thorfinnson was the son of Thorfinn and Gudrid Karlsefni and born in Vinland colony.  This according to The Encyclopedia of American Facts & Dates - Gorton Carruth. 

1349 Monday, Anti-Semitism has no historical, political and certainly no philosophical origins. Anti-Semitism is a disease. …..Daniel Barenboim….The Jewish population of Basel, Switzerland, believed by the residents to be the cause of the ongoing Black Death, was rounded up and massacred.  Local leaders  accused Jews of poisoning wells. Most of the 600 were burnt alive. It  was alleged that Jews were suffering and dying from the Black Plague at a much lower rate than Christians.  The Jerusalem Post notes that it may have been true, ascribing it to either the quick burial of Jews or the Passover tradition of the clearing of hametz (leavened bread) from homes ahead of Passover deprived rats of food and shelter, helping to stymie the disease’s spread.

1493-Monday- A full-grown manatee, which can weigh more than 1,000 pounds, looks like the result of a genetic experiment involving a walrus and the Goodyear Blimp …..Dave Barry…….Christopher Columbus reported seeing “ 3 mermaids” near what is now the Dominican Republic. As described, “he saw three mermaids, which rose well out of the sea; but they are not so beautiful as they are painted, though to some extent they have the form of a human face.” Now, there were and are some extraordinarily ugly women visiting the Caribbean during the winter/cruise season but these “mermaids” were probably manatees. Obviously, Admiral Columbus had been at sea way too long.  The manatee, now Florida’s state marine mammal, is a large aquatic relative of the elephant.

            1768 –Saturday-  Oh, goodbye cruel world, I'm off to join the circus
Gonna be a broken-hearted clown
Paint my face with a good-for-nothin' smile
'cause a mean, fickle woman turned my whole world upside down
(Goodbye cruel world)
Farewell to love, I'm off to join the circus
Gotta find a way to hide my tears
Bet I'll have them rolling in the aisle
And I'll forget that woman if it takes a hundred years
……..James Darren……..Probably the first performance of the modern circus was presented by Philip Astley in London. Astley is also known for contributing trick horse riding to the circus scene.  The circus became so popular in England that large cities constructed buildings for the purpose of accommodating shows. An example was the establishment of the London Hippodrome, which showcased a combination arena with circus, menagerie, and a variety theater. In ancient Europe, the typical circus was held within an oval or circular showground with tiered seating often flanking the edges. Other circuses performed under a large tent, but in Rome, an open-air stadium served as the arena where an array of public exhibitions took place. There were horse races, staged battles, equestrian shows, and chariot competitions. The circus in Rome also served as a significant watermark in history because it was the only public scene that allowed men and women to enjoy an event with one another.  Following the fall of Rome, the Barbarians proved to be rather humorless. Their idea of entertainment centered on sacking, pillaging and raping.  After all, can you name any Ostrogoth clowns?  The spread of circus history and tradition may have been kept alive for the modern world  by gypsies, who traveled through Europe during the 14th century and 15th century, bringing circus tricks and trained animals along. Nowadays the circus has added new entertainment acts. Just watch the antics of governmental acrobats, high wire walkers, animal trainers and clowns on the news every day.

            1776 –Tuesday- A government of our own is our natural right, 'TIS TIME TO PART…..Last line……Thomas Paine wrote  his pamphlet Common Sense, which presented his arguments in favor of American independence.  Published anonymously in February, Common Sense was an instant best-seller, both in the colonies and in Europe. It went through several editions in Philadelphia, and was republished in all parts of United America. Because of it, Paine became internationally famous. The work is credited  with uniting average citizens and political leaders behind the idea of independence, helping to transform the colonial squabble into the American Revolution. Pamphlets were an important medium for the spread of ideas in the 16th through 19th centuries. Eventually, Paine went on to write The Rights of Man and The Age of Reason, and the sequel to Common Sense, Fifty Cents.

            1788-Wednesday- Yankee Doodle went to town,
Riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his hat,
And called it macaroni.


Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step
And with the folks be handy…….State Song……Connecticut became the 5th state as it ratified the U.S Constitution.  Dutch explorer Adriaen Block discovered the Connecticut River in 1614. However, the first permanent settlements were made by English Puritans from Massachusetts, starting in 1633.  Geographically, it is the third smallest state, even though its original charter, granted in 1662, extended the land grant west to the Pacific Ocean. So, “visit Connecticut, see the Rockies and surf at Malibu”? Connecticut was an established name early in the 1600's in particular reference to the Connecticut River. The word itself was translated from the Mohegan name "Quinnehtukqut" and means "beside the long tidal river." Some state symbols:  Flower -Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) Tree -Charter Oak, Song -Yankee Doodle, Ship -USS Nautilus, Hero Nathan Hale, and  Folk Dance - Square Dance and yes, the state insect is the Praying Mantis.

            1793 –Wednesday- If the day is calm, there will be full time to reach the prison court…as…I will ascend perpendicularly; but if the wind blows, permit me, gentlemen, to advise you not to attempt to keep up with me, especially in a country so intersected with rivers, and so covered with woods An all star audience featuring George Washington, John Adams, Paul Revere, Thomas Paine and others observed French aeronaut,  Jean-Pierre Blanchard as he made the first successful balloon flight in the United States. Blanchard’s balloon, filled with hydrogen, took off from Philadelphia, PA, soared to 5,800 feet and eventually landed 15 miles away, in Woodbury, New Jersey. While in the air he provided  traffic reports on the conditions on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. It was Blanchard’s 45th flight in all.  Technically, Blanchard carried the first piece of airmail with him, a "passport" presented by President Washington that directed "all citizens of the United States, and others, that…they oppose no hindrance…to the said Mr. Blanchard" and help in his efforts to "establish and advance an art, in order to make it useful to mankind in general."

1816 –Tuesday,  I thank God that I was not made a dexterous manipulator, for the most important of my discoveries have been suggested to me by my failures……….Sir Humphry Davy tested his safety lamp for miners at Hebburn Colliery. It was designed to be lit safely for miners to use without allowing the heat from the flame to explode the concentration of methane gas often found as miners dug deeper.  The Royal Institution web site notes that Following a number of serious explosions in North East coal mines due to pockets of flammable gas known as 'firedamp', Davy was asked by the Rector of Bishopwearmouth to find a means of lighting coal mines safely.

            1823 –Thursday-  I want a tattoo over my heart that reads TRY HARDER YOU LAZY PARAMEDIC ………OR I WILL HAUNT YOUR BEDROOM FOREVER…….Warren Ellis…..Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!/Happy Birthday- Johannes Friedrich von Esmarch, German surgeon born in Tönning, Schleswig-Holstein. Esmarch was the first to introduce a first-aid kit, the rubber tourniquet, a method of amputation that minimized loss of blood, and triage on the battlefield. He also introduced first aid training for both military and civilian personnel. Esmarch wrote a handbook of military surgical technique and instituted training in first aid for civilian and military personnel.

1839 – Wednesday, In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri…….Douglas Adams…….Scottish astronomer Thomas Henderson, down at the Cape of Good Hope 1832 in South America,  measured the distance to a star (Alpha Centauri) other than the Sun for the first time.  He came home the following year but had done numorous measurements of bot Alpha Centauri and Sirius.  He finally completed the work in 1839 and reported his findings to the Royal Astronomical Society. Henderson had a really long yardstick. The Alpha Centauri system is the closest star system (3) to our sun. The closest star in the system, Proxima Centauri is 4.2 light years away.

1839 – Wednesday, (we’ve seen it as Jan. 7 also) Ev'ry time i see your face,
It reminds me of the places we used to go.
But all i got is a photograph
And i realise you're not coming back anymore
…..Ringo Starr….The daguerreotype photo process was announced at the French Academy of Science. Previous photographic processes required hours of exposure.  This work of Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre. a Romantic painter and printmaker needed only a few seconds. Each daguerreotype (as Daguerre dubbed his invention) was a one-of-a-kind image on a highly polished, silver-plated sheet of copper. The plate was prepared with a layer of photo-sensitive silver halide, was exposed, developed using mercury vapour, and fixed in a solution of sodium hyposulphite. But wait.  Why just one at a time?  The daguerreotype was produced with a direct positive image, needing no intermediate negative, but thus could not yield multiple reproductions made possible by later photographic processes.

      1861-Wednesday – So two Italian men were sitting behind a woman on a bus.
“Emma come first,” one of the men said to the other. “Denna I come. Two asses, they come together. I come again. Denna two asses, they come together again. I come again and pee twice. Denna I come oncea more.” “You pigs,” the lady yelled. “In this country, we don’t talk about our sex lives in public!”
“Hey, coola down, lady,” the one man said. “Imma justs tellun him howa to spella Mississippi.”
…………. Mississippi – on the seventy third anniversary of Connecticut joining the Union……became the second state, after South Carolina, to secede from the Union. Mississippi had become a state on December 10, 1817. It would rejoin the Union on February 23, 1870.

1864Saturday, For the things of this world cannot be made known without a knowledge of mathematics. …….Roger Bacon……S dniom razhdjenia!/Vladimir Steklov, Russian mathematician and physicist born in Nizhny Novgorod.  Steklov made many important contributions to applied mathematics. He reduced problems to boundary value problems of Dirichlet type where Laplace's equation must be solved on a surface. He wrote General Theory of Fundamental Functions in which he examined expansions of functions as series in an infinite system of orthogonal eigenfunctions. In fact the term "Fundamental Functions", which is due to Poincaré, means eigenfunctions in today's terminology. A child of five could understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five…..Groucho Marx

1868-Thursday-  Foamy frothy fizz, fizzology
(Fizz spume, spume fizzoom)
Fester effervecsce fizzology
(Fizz spume, spume fizzoom)
start with a base
Higher pH
You get the gist (Gist fizzoom)
Acid comes next
Things get complex
And start to fizz…(Fizzoom)
…..The Snark-a-Snoops…….. Tillykke med fodselsdagen!/Happy Birthday, Soren Sorenson, Danish biochemist, scientist born in Havrebjerg, Slagelse. Sorenson invented the pH scale in 1909.  He was reportedly was involved in work testing the acidity of beer (note – stale beer would be measured on the pU scale). There is a bit of a chemical kerfuffle over the meaning of the p and the h. Most plausible is that the  pH symbol is rooted in the French (not Danish -magt hydrodgen or  it would be the mH scale)  "pouvoir hydrogene" (power of hydrogen).The scale is a  measure of the degree of the acidity or the alkalinity of a solution as measured on a scale (pH scale) of 0 to 14. The midpoint of 7.0 on the pH scale represents neutrality, i.e., a "neutral" solution is neither acid nor alkaline. Numbers below 7.0 indicate acidity; numbers greater than 7.0 indicate alkalinity. The 0 end of the scale is where the concentration is increasingly acidic – battery acid or NY Times theater critics. At  2 is lemon juice and stomach juices – only juice, not Protestants. Then around 3 are vinegar, beer and cola. Next at 4 is tomato juice. Then at 5 is black coffee and rainwater. Then comes urine at 6 and urine trouble. Pure water and human blood are at 7. After 7 the concentration starts to become more basic. Most biological fluids are between pH 6 and pH8, there are a few exceptions to this like stomach acid. Semen is 7.1-8.0. Then between 8 and 9 is seawater. Then at 10 is milk of magnesia. Followed by household ammonia at 11, household bleach at 12. Then between 13 and 14 is oven cleaner.

            1878-Wednesday-A wonderful discovery, psychoanalysis.  Makes quite simple people feel they're complex. …S.N. Behrman…..Happy Birthday, John B. Watson, American psychologist whose ideas initiated behaviorism as a branch of psychology. He was inspired by the work of Ivan Pavlov, (he of the dog drooling stimulus experiments) and he studied the biology, physiology, and behavior of animals. Watson continued with studies of the behavior of children, his conclusion was that humans, while more complicated than animals, operated on the same principles (just watch a large group of children in a school lunchroom) . Watson strongly rejected any belief in instincts and indicated that it was a misnomer for early experiences. He believed that differences in ability and talent originate in early experience in contrast to being innately determined. Watson’s behaviorism dominated psychology in the U.S. in the 1920s and ‘30s but that was many swings of the “psychology belief” pendulum ago and if you try to follow them all you’ll end up meshugena. 

            1894-Tuesday- All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl….Jean-Luc Godard …..William Kennedy Laurie Dickson copyrighted the first motion picture. The movie, filmed in February 1893 at the Edison studio in West Orange, New Jersey, featured 47 images of a man sneezing….”God Bless You”.  Who nose what came next? In competition with the Lumière brothers in France, Dickson then constructed the first motion-picture stage inside an enclosed studio called the "Black Maria." Starring in many of the first films himself, he recorded short acts, about one minute long, including early attempts at sound movies. The final system was displayed in 1895 as the Vitascope, a bulky but effective camera and projector system that sparked the motion picture revolution. From this we got: Die Hard Dracula, The Tony Blair Witch Project, Leonard Part 6, Fire Maidens from Outer Space, Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, Phat Girlz, Daddy Day Camp, Plan Nine from Outer Space, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Gigli, Heaven’s Gate, Howard the Duck, The Conqueror (John Wayne as Genghis Khan), Ballistic: Barbarella, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Catwoman (the Halle Berry version), and The Adventures of Pluto Nash.

1902 –Thursday- Standing on a corner watching all the girls go by
Standing on a corner watching all the girls go by
Brother you don't know a nicer occupation
Matter of fact, neither do I
Than standing on a corner watching all the girls
Watching all the girls, watching all the girls go by
 …..The Four Lads……New York passed a law banning flirting in public.  The Gnus set our crack research staff to validating this entry.  It is a typical xeroxian internet  entry in which the same description is used over and over on a plethora of sites.  We did find, however, a description of the law, a fine of $25 can be levied for flirting. This old law specifically prohibits men from turning around on any city street  and looking "at a woman in that way." A second conviction for a crime of this magnitude calls for the violating male to be  forced to wear a "pair of horse-blinders" wherever and whenever he goes outside for a stroll. So, strictly speaking, the law banned……”hey pretty mama whatcho doin’?” and vice versa, ogling.

1905 –Sunday,  There is no God anymore, there is no Tsar’ ….Father George Gapon…..After the massacre…..From Tsar Nicholas II monarchial manual, How to Lose Your Country and Then Your Life…..Ruling for Dummies….. Bloody Sunday (note this was Julian Calenday, the Russians adopted the Gregorian in 1917) A strike in St. Petersburg and 140,000 peaceful protesters led by Father George Gapon, went to the Winter Palace to give the Tsar a petition.  At that time the Tsar was still loved and trusted by the people.  Whoops!  T he Imperial Guard fired on the crowd.  The crowd disbanded. According to official data, there were 130 people killed and 300 people wounded, but unaccredited sources spoke about 300 deaths and 800 people injured. All the killed were buried secretly by the police..

1913-Thursday-  He was the most dishonest individual I ever met in my life. President Nixon lied to his wife, his family, his friends, longtime colleagues in the US Congress, lifetime members of his own political party, the American people and the world…..  Barry Goldwater……. Happy Birthday, Richard Nixon, 37th president of the U.S. Nixon’s Vice President, Spiro T. Agnew resigned in 1973. Note, Nixon insisted “I am not a crook” but he never said anything about his vice president.  Nixon had first come to national prominence as a California congressman.  His warm mixture of surliness, lack of humor, shady politics, and total lack of personality soon won the hearts of the American people.  For some reason, Dwight Eisenhower who could have been elected with even Senator Charles Schumer as a running mate, selected Nixon.  Nixon quickly proved that all beliefs about him were correct. He climbed out of a political scandal on the sleeves of long suffering wife Patricia’s “Republican cloth coat” and a stupid dog named Checkers. In spite of all this, Nixon would have been elected president in 1960 but for the Illinois based shenanigans of the Democrats in Cook County who stole the election (Democrats do that very well) for John F. Kennedy.  Nixon then ran for governor of California in 1962, lost and with typical good humor announced to the press “now you won’t have Nixon to kick around any more”. Unfortunately, he was wrong. We would have Nixon to kick around for a while. The Republicans, suicidal as ever and with an election there for the taking, nominated Nixon for President in 1968. He almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory but managed to edge out “Happy Warrior” Hubert Humphrey (later famously introduced by the regrettable Jimmy Carter during a convention as Hubert H. Hornblower) for the victory.  Nixon then defeated the Liberace sound alike, George McGovern in 1972 and everything began to unravel when with victory assured –the Democrats and McGovern were engaged in an incompetence contest- he authorized the Watergate burglary of the offices of the Democratic National Committee. Now we really could kick him around.  After Agnew resigned in 73, Nixon nominated, and Congress approved, House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford as Vice President. After the Watergate scandal surfaced in 1972 and festered for two years and faced with what seemed almost certain impeachment, Nixon announced on August 8, 1974, that he would resign the next day to begin "that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America." Ford, our first slapstick President provided many moments of laughter over the next two years before managing to lose the election to peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter.

1922Monday,   DNA has been aptly described as the first three-dimensional Xerox machine……Kenneth Boulding……Janam Din ki badhai!/Happy Birthday, Har Gobind Khorana Indian-American biochemist born in Raipur.  Khorana shared (with Marshall W. Nirenberg and Robert W. Holley) the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.  The research helped to show how the nucleotides in nucleic acids, which carry the genetic code of the cell, control the cell’s synthesis of proteins. After James Watson and Francis Crick announced the double helix structure of DNA in 1953, other researchers pursued how DNA's instructions were actually carried out.  Usually it was a a secret meeting where codes and handshakes were exchanged befor the DNA gave the marching orders. In 1972, he was the first scientist to synthesize a wholly artificial gene from laboratory chemicals.

                        1925 –Friday-  Being born with beady eyes was the best thing that ever happened to me……….Happy Birthday, Lee Van Cleef, one of the great movie villains, born in Somerville, New Jersey . Van Cleef was Jack Colby, one of the members of Frank Miller’s gang in the classic High Noon.  He also starred in the great Italian westerns For a Few Dollars More (he was actually a “good” bad guy competing with Clint Eastwood (see Rawhide, Jan. 9, 1959 ) who captured the Mexican bad guy, and the epic The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Buono, il brutto, il cattivo).  He was the “Bad”, Clint was the “Good” and Eli Wallach, the greatest Mexican Bandit of all time –also see as the Mexican bandit in the Magnificent Seven- was the “Ugly”.  There seems to have been an unwritten codicil for all television westerns of the fifties and sixties that Lee Van Cleef  make an appearance as a villain.  He was even in two episodes of Rawhide with Clint Eastwood in 1964. We just saw him the other night as a henchman of Lee Marvin in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence.  After Marvin bopped crusading newspaper editor Edmund O’Brian, Van Cleef joined in to stomp him. We tried to count up how many times Lee was shot in shows and movies but suffice to say we had a tough time finding any in which he wasn’t rendered kaput.

            1929-Wednesday- Blind man walks into a store. He picks up his seeing eye dog and twirls him around his head by his leash. The clerk runs up screaming "Why are you doing that?!" Blind man replies "Just looking around …….The first seeing eye dog was trained in Morristown, N.J. This proved more successful than earlier attempts to train a seeing nose dog. The first school for training such dogs was established by the German government after World War I for the benefit of blinded veterans. The Morristown school, Seeing Eye, Inc., was founded by Dorothy Harrison Eustis. Eustis had visited the German school in Potsdam, wrote an article about it and received a letter from a blind man, Morris Frank, asking her to train a dog for him.

1935   - Wednesday, What an age we live in…..Maynard G. Krebs…..Happy Birthday, actor, Bob Denver,  born in New Rochelle, NY. Denver is most famous for being Gilligan in the conspicuously stupid sit com, Gilligan’s Island,  - the first name of his character Gilligan, which was almost never mentioned on the series, was Willy. But he was great as beatnik, Maynard G. (the “G” stands for Walter”) Krebs in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

1945    - Tuesday, There is great potential for cooperation with the Communists….  A Joint Dispatch …….Major Raymond Cromley, head of the top secret "Dixie Mission," sent a cable to US military headquarters in Chunking that said Mao Tse-tung would like send a group to President Roosevelt to explain the situation in China. Ambassador Patrick J. Hurley, who opposed the meeting, intercepted the message and failed to pass it to the President. The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training website notes; After attempting to convince Washington that a civil war in China was imminent and that the Communists would be the likely victors, John S. Service and a group of other U.S. diplomats traveled to Yenan in July 1944 to meet with the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. Nicknamed the Dixie Mission, the U.S. Army Observation Group spent several months there learning about the Communists, who were involved in a bitter struggle with Chiang Kai-Shek’s Kuomintang (KMT). Would it have altered the course of history?  We’ll never know.

1950 –Monday- It's my life and I'm not sitting
On the sidelines watching it
Pass me by, I'm leaving you my legacy I
I gotta make my mark, I gotta run it hard
I want you to remember me
I'm leaving my fingerprints
I'm leaving my fingerprints
I'm leaving my fingerprints on you
 ……Katy Perry…..Happy Birthday, Sir Alec Jeffrey, English geneticist who discovered the technique of DNA fingerprinting, used for unique identification of  humans, animals and other organisms from their DNA material on Sept. 10 1984.  DNA finger printing allows us to answer such questions as: Who is the biological father of a child? Whose blood, sweat, hair or sperm has been left behind at the scene of a crime? Who is this tsunami victim? Are these bones truly the remains of the last Tsar of Russia? Jeffreys' technique was even able to tell us whether Dolly was in fact the clone of another sheep. Without Sir Alec there would be no CSI, CSI Miami, CSI New York, NCIS, CSI Hoboken, CSI Duluth, CSI Cour D’Lene, CSI Bismarck, CSI Kennebunkport and CSI CSI NCIS Law and Order – Jaywalking and Littering  on television.

1952 – Wednesday- Commander Cody: I still think this is no trip for a woman.
Joan Gilbert: Now don't start that again. You'll be very glad to have someone along who can cook your meals. ……..The premiere of the documentary, Radar Men from the Moon. Earth was being threatened by Retik, the Moon Man and his Earthian thugs.  Commander Cody had to save Earth.  This was  the first Commando Cody serial, in 12 chapters and starred one George Wallace (not the Governor of Alabama) as Cody and Aline Towne as his sidekick/babe Joan Gilbert, with Roy Barcroft as the evil Retik, the Ruler of the Moon.  The Lone Ranger  himself, Clayton Moore, had a supporting role.

1953 – Friday,  Their humiliating scores against nonentities is a travesty on the entire structure of intercollegiate athletics….. Jimmy Breslin. …..6-foot-9-inch Clarence "Bevo" Francis, a freshman center for Rio Grande, scored 116 points against Ashland college, setting a new collegiate single-game scoring record as Rio (pronounced RYE-oh) Grande just edged out Ashland,  150-85.  Not so fast pilgrim. The Bevester’s record was kiboshed  by the NCAA. Seems that Ashland was only a two-year college and thus an unfair opponent. But leave it to Bevo as a year later, he totaled 113 points against Hillsdale, a four-year school. This time the record counted and remains the most a player has ever scored in an NCAA game.  In 1956, he was drafted in the third round by the NBA champion Philadelphia Warriors, but turned down their contract offer.

1958 –Thursday-  Buy me a Datsun or Toyota…..Jethro Tull…Ah so, the Toyota and Datsun (later Nissan) brand name cars made their first appearances in the United States at the Imported Motor Car Show in Los Angeles, California.

            1959 –Friday-Move 'em out, head 'em up,
Head 'em up, move 'em on.
Move 'em out, head 'em up:
Cut 'em out, ride 'em in,
Ride 'em in, cut 'em out,
Cut 'em out, ride 'em in:
Hah! Hah!
 …….Frankie Laine……..The premiere of Rawhide on CBS at 8:00 p.m. Starring Eric Fleming as trail boss Gil Favor (hot off his starring role with Zsa Zsa Gabor in the epic Queen of Outer Space) , Sheb Wooley (of Purple People Eater and High Noon fame), Paul Brinegar, and as scout Rowdy Yates, Clint Eastwood, the western ran until January 4, 1966. IMDb notes the plot of episode 1 - After a marshal and deputy are wounded and killed, Gil and Rowdy volunteer to finish the delivery of the prison wagon with seven dangerous prisoners to Ft Craig for trial, while the outlaw husband of one prisoner is in pursuit to free her.  Movie actress, Terry Moore was on hand for the fun as was old time Western star, Bob Steele in a minor role.

            1968 –Monday- Why doesn’t anyone go to the moon anymore? What happened to our optimism?.....Janet Turpin Myers……. The last American unmanned craft to land on the Moon before the Apollo program, the Surveyor 7 space probe made a soft landing. Surveyor 7 was the fifth and final spacecraft of the Surveyor series to achieve a lunar soft landing. The primary objectives of the Surveyor program, a series of seven robotic lunar soft landing flights, were to support the coming crewed Apollo landings by developing and validating the technology for landing softly on the Moon,  since a hard landing would prove counter productive for astronauts, providing data on the compatibility of the Apollo design with conditions encountered on the lunar surface, adding to the scientific knowledge of the Moon and finding good restaurants, hotels with reasonable rates and making sure that Al Sharpton didn’t live anywhere nearby.

            1972 –Sunday-  Blue sea keep a rolling on your weary way
My sweetie has left me she done drifted away
She hopped a big ocean liner headed out to the sea
And left a world full of worries on the beach with me
…..Hank Snow…… At one time the Queen Elizabeth1 was the largest passenger liner in the world (this was before the esthetically challenged floating people factories known as cruise ships appeared on the scene) and on this day it caught fire and burned to unsalvageable wreckage in Hong Kong Harbor.  The Queen Elizabeth 1 had been built as an ocean liner, but was pressed into service as a troop ship during WW II. In 1946 it was completed as a passenger liner.  In 1970 it was purchased by a Hong Kong businessman, who (obscenely) decided to rename it  Seawise University  and convert it to a floating learning center that would tour the world.  Well that certainly worked out well.

            1972- Sunday- A blonde walks up to a soda machine, puts in a coin and out pops a drink. Totally amazed, she runs to get some more coins and returns to the machine. She quickly begins to feed one coin after the other into the machine and it keeps feeding out drinks.

Suddenly a man who's been standing there waiting taps her on the shoulder. "Excuse me, but could I have a go at the machine, please?"

"Not while I'm on a winning streak!" she replies……..As the Queen Elizabeth I burned, the longest winning streak in professional sports came to an end. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (nee Lew Alcindor when he attended Power Memorial High School in NYC) led the Milwaukee Bucks with 39 points to a 120-104 victory over Wilt Chamberlain and the Los Angeles Lakers in Milwaukee. Jerry West had 20 for the Lakers.  This concluded the Lakers 33 game winning streak, the longest of any team in American professional sports. The Bucks with the great Oscar Robertson at guard  would go on to lose to the New York Knicks in the playoffs.  The Lakers with Columbia’s Jim MacMillan and NYU’s  Happy Hairston would defeat the Knicks for the championship.

            1976 –Friday- I went to a fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out….. Rodney Dangerfield…….Vsechno nejlepsi k Tvym narozeninam/ Happy Birthday, Radek Bonk, Czech hockey player born in Krnov. Bonk was one of those players that never played up to his potential. He would have been obscure but how can one be obscure if one is named Radek Bonk.  Plus we thought that with a name like Radek Bonk he belongs in the Gnus.  The Bonkster played most of his NHL career with the Ottawa Senators.

1986 – Thursday,  No man was ever great by imitation……Samuel Johnson…..In the battle of the photographic titans, Kodak the camera giant lost its appeal and hence its battle to remain in the instant photography business. Kodak was taken to court by the Polaroid company for using it's patent and a Boston judge Boston judge, Rya Zobel, found that Kodak had infringed on seven patents held by the Polaroid Corporation and granted an injunction in October 1985. Polaroid began its suit six days after Kodak introduced its first instant-picture camera in April 1976.

            1990 –Tuesday- On a standard space shuttle crew, two of the astronauts have a test pilot background - the commander and the pilot. ….Sally Ride…. Columbia lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on mission STS-32. The launch scheduled for December 18, 1989 was postponed to complete and verify modifications to Pad A which was being used for first time since January 1986 (see Challenger – January 28). The launch was thenscheduled for January 8,was scrubbed due to weather conditions (see Challenger-January 28). This was a secret Defense Department mission primarily to deploy a Defense satellite so the astronauts wore fake glasses, moustaches and beards. Commander Daniel C. Brandenstein wore an eye patch.   As with all space missions noted in the Gnus, this one too brought back alien microbes.  These microbes migrated to California where they caused movie producers to keep making movies starring Kevin Costner.

            1998-Friday-  Every test we have made has come out perfectly in line with Einstein’s original cosmological constant in 1917……..Brian P. Schmidt…….Two teams of international collaborations of scientists, including future Nobel Winners, Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt, and Adam G. Riess, announced the discovery that galaxies are accelerating, flying apart at ever faster speeds, by observing distant, ancient exploding stars. So every galaxy you see with your telescope or binoculars in the night sky is moving away from us. So wave goodbye.  It was as if, when you tossed your car keys in the air, instead of coming down, they flew faster and faster to the ceiling. Subsequent cosmological measurements have confirmed that roughly 70 percent of the universe by mass or energy consists of this antigravitational dark energy that is pushing the galaxies apart, though astronomers and physicists have no conclusive evidence of what it is.

2001  - Tuesday,    Just once, I wish we would encounter an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets  ……Dr. Who……. Astronomers reported the discovery two multi planet systems.  One of the systems is around the sun-like star HD 168443, which is 123 light years away in the constellation Serpens. It is orbited by both a massive planet and another bulkier object at least 17 times more massive than Jupiter, but whether this chunky companion is a planet, a dim failed star called a brown dwarf, the home world of Hip Hop reality TV “stars”  or some as-yet unidentified astronomical object was unclear.  The second system has two planets eternally locked in sync, with orbital periods of 60 and 30 days. Both systems were known previously to contain one planet, but now appear to have two planets each orbiting a central star.  

            2003 –Thursday- The reason why China suffers bitterly from endless wars is because of the existence of feudal lords and kings. A reliance on ancestral temples initially brought stability, but the revival of states results in the spread of soldiers. Doing so will never bring about stability! ……. Qin Shihuang, China's first emperor is famous for the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors and Horses - his two greatest achievements. Today, archaeologists announced that they had found five more chambers, covering about 750.000 square feet, with popcorn ceilings, hardwood floors, chair rails, a hot tub, and built-in bookcases  in his tomb.  The tomb of Qin Shi Huang is located in the eastern suburbs of Lintong County, 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of Xian: on the Lishan Mountain in the south and overlooking the Wei River towards north and the Walmart production factory.

2007 Tuesday,  Today, we're introducing three revolutionary products. The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device. So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough Internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone...are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device. And we are calling it iPhone. Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone. Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone.  The original iPhone, based on the P2 device of the Project Experience Purple (PEP) team, code named M68 and device number iPhone1,1, had a 3.5-inch LCD screen at 320x480 and 163ppi, a quad-band 2G EDGE data radio, 802.11b.g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, and a 2 megapixel camera. It was powered by an ARM-based 1176JZ(F)-S processor and PowerVR MBX Lite 3D graphics chip, manufactured by Samsung, with an 1400 mAh battery, and had 128MB of on-board RAM. Two NAND Flash-based storage tiers were available at launch: 4GB or 8GB. We wish that was our description but we barely got LCD and Wifi. This was from Renee Richie at the iMore website.




49 B.C –Saturday- Coming up with his troops on the banks of the Rubicon, which was the frontier of his province, he halted for a while, and revolving in his mind the importance of the step he meditated, he turned to those about him, saying: 'Still we can retreat! But once let us pass this little bridge, - and nothing is left but to fight it out with arms! …….Suetonious…….(also seen as January 11 – but the crossing began late evening of the 10th ) Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon. He thought he was on his way to the ferry for Martha’s Vineyard but….. The Rubicon is a small stream in north-east Italy near San Marino that flows into the Adriatic. It marks the ancient boundary between Italy and Cisalpine Gaul. By taking his army across it (i.e. outside his own province and back into “Rome” ) in 49 BC Julius Caesar committed himself to war against the Senate and Pompey. Caesar famously said, "The die is cast," Actually he didn’t speak English but said “Alea iacta est (also seen as alea jacta est)”, meaning there would be no turning back.  He might have said “Vos can't loco toothpaste tergum in tube” – you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube- but it would be nearly as dramatic. Caesar would go on to defeat Pompey and the Senate, become Dictator and eventually be kaputed when he was stabbed in the forum (also chest, back and neck) on March 15, 44 B.C.

1475 – Saturday- The religion of Islam above all others was founded upon the sword … Moreover it provides incentives to slaughter, and in three continents has produced fighting breeds of men – filled with a wild and merciless fanaticism……Winston Churchill…..Chalk this one in the loss column for the Muslims.   Prince  Stephen III of Moldavia defeated the Ottoman Empire, commanded by Suleyman Pasha  at the Battle of Vaslui. Vaslui is south of Iasi (pronounced ‘yash’) the former capital of Moldavia in current day Romania.  The Ottomans were engaging in their favorite past time, invading Europe and  numbered between 50,000 and 120,000, facing about 40,000 Moldavian troops. Ştefan inflicted a decisive defeat on the Ottomans, with casualties, according to Venetian and Polish records, reaching beyond 40,000 on the Ottoman side. The invasion was the worst ever defeat for the Ottomans to that time.

1573- Tuesday- Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!Happy Birthday, Simon Marius (Also known as Simon Mayr, Simon the Moon Observer, Simple Simon, and Simon the Says) German astronomer born in Gunzenhausen, Bavaria. What ever he was called, he was a pupil of the silver nosed Tycho Brahe,  and one of the earliest users of the telescope. Marius studied and named the four largest moons of Jupiter- discovered by Galileo-  Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto after mythological figures closely involved in love with Jupiter (remember, Ganymede was a guy so…..). This was  one of many scientific disputes over “who gets the credit for discoveries”. Although he may have made his discovery independently of Galileo,  Marius claimed to have discovered these satellites of Jupiter but  in the resulting dispute over priority, it was Galileo who was credited by other astronomers.

            1709  - Monday,   Things go better with Coke……jingle……Abraham Darby in Coalbrookdale, England, began using coke to provide carbon for making iron. Coke smelting (it smelt horrible) replaced charcoal with coal in metal foundries during the process of refining metals; and this was important to Britain's future since charcoal at that time was becoming scarce and was more expensive.

1729 Friday, Why has not Man a microscopic eye?
For this plain reason, Man is not a Fly.
Say what the use, were finer optics giv'n,
T' inspect a mite, not comprehend the heav'n.
….Alexander Pope…….Buon Compleano/Happy Birthday, Lazzaro Spallanzani, Italian priest, biologist, and physiologist born in Modena.  A curious gentleman, Spallanzani would observe the pits of spitting volcanoes, the world of reproduction, the waters of eels, the dark depths of the bat's home, intricacies of the vascular system and where to get good calzone. His investigations into the development of microscopic life in nutrient culture solutions inspired the research of Louis Pasteur.

1738 – Tuesday,   There is an original something in him that commands admiration; and his long captivity and sufferings have only served to increase if possible, his enthusiastic zeal. He appears very desirous of rendering his services to the States, and of being employed; and at the same time he does not discover any ambition for high rank……George Washington……Happy Birthday, American Revolutionary commander Ethan Allen born in Litchfield, Connecticut. (many historyians give it as Jan. 21) He was the leader of the militia known as the Green Mountain Boys in in what is nowVermont.  With Benedict Arnold, at that time a good guy, Allen and his soldiers captured Fort Ticonderoga in New York from the British on  May 10, 1775, the first successful campaign of the war. Flushed with success, Allen then attempted to invade Canada.  Bad idea. InSeptember of 1775 he was captured by the British in Montreal and later exchanged for a captured British officer in 1778. He went kaput in 1789, two years before Vermont became a state.

1747 –Tuesday-  Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do. ….Jean-Paul Sartre….. Joyeaux Anniversaire/Happy Birthday, Abraham-Louis Bréguet, Swiss clockmaker born in in Neuchâtel. Bréguet is considered one of the greatest horologists (study of prostitution) of all time. Visit the WatchQuote website for a timeline of his remarkable achievments. He improved the automatic rotor or so-called perpetual watch…..self winding. Bréguet’s most famous invention was the tourbillon. This was a system whereby the whole watch mechanism rotates to compensate for error. Breguet tourbillon watches are much sought after by collectors so check your Timex to make sure it’s a Timex. Other innovations of Breguet included: the first anti-shock system, the overcoil balance spring, the tact watch (for telling the time by touch), the constant force escapement and the sympathetic pendulum, evidently a pendulum you could tell your troubles to.

1810 –Tuesday-  On an antisocial note:  The marriage of Napoleon and Josephine was annulled. The bride threw her wedding dress at the groom.  He stuck her with his tie clasp. The band  played Strawberry Fields Forever backwards and it sounded like Paul is Dead…..The wedding guests had to practice bulimia and give back the hors d’oeurves.

            1832- Tuesday- Failure is God’s own tool for carving some of the finest outlines in the character of his children…….. Thomas Hodgkin, a Quaker activist, (yest they had activists in those days too) age 34, took a paper to the Medical and Surgical Society in London. Since he wasn't a member, the Society's secretary had to read it for him while he sat silently nodding. Only eight members were present. The title was Some Morbid Appearances of the Absorbent Glands and Spleen. In the report he described clinical histories and postmortem findings of seven patients with enlargement of lymph nodes and spleen but without inflammation or other significant pathological findings.  It was lymphoma. The  English ignored it. They didn't name it after him until late in the century -- long after the Germans had started calling it Hodgkin's Krankheit. Although Italian doctor, Marcello Malpighi had written about the disease in 1666, Hodgkin's paper was the first to document the disease. Hodgkin Hodgkin died of dysentery in Palestine in 1865.

             1843 –Monday-  I have been hunted for twenty-one years. I have literally lived in the saddle. I have never known a day of perfect peace……Happy Birthday, Frank James, lesser known brother of outlaw, Jesse James born in Clay County, Missouri.  Following their guerilla activities Civil War, Frank and his brother Jessie James became outlaws and established a gang that included Bob Younger, Cole Younger, James Younger, Bill Chadwell, Clell Miller and Charlie Pitts. After eleven years of robbing banks and stagecoaches, on September 7, 1876, the gang attempted to rob the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota. Bad idea. During the raid one them shot and killed a bank cashier.  Members of the town decided to fight back and they opened fire on the gang. Bill Chadwell, Clell Miller and Charlie Pitts were killed and Bob Younger, Cole Younger and James Younger, were all wounded and captured. Frank and Jesse James escaped.  While Jesse bit the dust and went kaput in 1882, shot in the back “by the dirty little coward who shot Mr. Howard”, Frank lived until 1915. He had surrendered to the police a few months after Jesse’s murder and, incredibly, prosecutors were unable to convince juries (sounding like a contemporary New York City jury) that Frank was a criminal, and he was declared a free man after avoiding conviction at three separate trials in Missouri and Alabama. He even got his own movie (there are dozens of Jesse James movies), The Return of Frank James (1940) starring Henry Fonda in the title role. He a was also the subject of a play, The Trial of Frank James by Jeff Robertson.

            1861 – Wednesday- My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that's the law……..Jerry Seinfeld……..Florida, citing “hanging chads”, 2nd hand voting machines, too many old people from the North, the lobotomization of its population caused by the culture of South Beach, and giant insects due to the humidity in summer, seceded from the Union.  President Abraham Lincoln responded “They had just joined the union in 1845.  First you want in, then you want out, talk about fickle”. Florida delegates who were meeting in the state capital, Tallahassee, voted to secede from the U.S. Florida became one of the six original Southern states to form the Confederate States of America; eventually, 11 states would leave the Union..

            1863-Friday- Well, let me tell you of the story of a man named Charley on a tragic and fateful day.
He put ten cents in his pocket, kissed his wife and family, went to ride on the M.T.A.
Well, did he ever return? No, he never returned and his fate is still unknown. (What a pity! Poor ole Charlie. Shame and scandal. He may ride forever.  'neath the streets of Boston. He's the man who never returned
……………….Kingston Trio…..It wasn’t Boston but……. London’s Metropolitan, the world’s first underground (we in America call it a subway) passenger railway, opened to fare-paying passengers at 6 am. The inaugural stretch measured six kilometers (nearly four miles) and ran between Paddington (Bishop's Road) and Farringdon Street, creating quick steam train connections from main line overground stations to the City. The first violin players, jugglers, dancers, singers and three card monte dealers appeared later that Friday afternoon.  The first door closed in a passenger’s face while the passenger was attempting to board, occurred at 6:15 a.m.

1864ish Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses ……The exact year and date of his birth are unknown. Happy Birthdayish, George Washington Carver, botanist who  was born into slavery on a farm near Diamond, Missouri. Carver (Carver was his owner’s name) devised over 100 products using one major corp—the peanut—including dyes, plastics and gasoline. For most of his career he taught and conducted research at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Tuskegee, Alabama. No, he didn’t invent peanut butter.  Carver developed a version of peanut butter. The Incas developed a paste made out of ground peanuts as far back as 950 B.C. According to  the National Peanut Board, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, of seriel cereal fame, invented a version of peanut butter in 1895.

1877-Tuesday-  There is the crying need and splendid opportunity for the young engineer of creative imagination and moral courage to join forces with his brother specialists from the humanitarian side and thus insure a really comprehensive picture of what Homo sapiens should be driving at as the immediate and conscious goal for the species…….. If anybody ever asks you who invented the industrial electrostatic precipitator in 1907, tell them it was Frederick G. Cottrell (Happy Birthday) born in Oakland, California..  If anybody ever asks you what it does, change the subject.  If they keep asking, just tell them it’s a device used to remove liquid droplets or solid particles from a gas in which they are suspended. Some uses include, removal of dirt from flue gases in steam plants, cleaning of air to remove fungi and bacteria in establishments producing antibiotics and other drugs, and in operating rooms, cleaning of air in ventilation and air conditioning systems, removal of oil mists in machine shops and acid mists in chemical process plants, cleaning of blast furnace gases, and removal of stupidity from contemporaty television.  

1887-Sunday-  One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of March thaw, is the Spring.  …… Happy Birthday, Aldo Leopold, writer, ecologist, and conservationist born in Burlington, Iowa.  Joining the long list of daddies, Leopold is considered the father of wildlife ecology.  His book, Game Management published in 1933, defined the fundamental skills and techniques for managing, restoring wildlife populations and winning at Scrabble or Monopoly. Leopold became director of the Audubon Society in 1935 and not content with that he founded the Wilderness Society in the same year.

1899-Tuesday-  How do you make a blonde's eyes twinkle? Shine your flashlight in her ear... Great moments in the history of the flashlight. The U.S. patent was issued for an "Electric Device," invented by David Misell.  This  was manufactured as the first tubular "Flash Light" by Conrad Hubert (who had developed a non-tubular flashlight in 1898) at his American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing Company. Hubert would found the Ever Ready Battery Company but would sell it in 1906. Of course before one could invent a flashlight,  one had to invent the light bulb,the  invention of Thomas Edison in 1879. Edison used a carbon filament, but it was replaced in 1906 by a tungsten wire filament. Around the same time, work was being done to create a portable battery. A German scientist, Dr. Carl Gassner, created the first battery in 1888.

1901 –Wednesday-  Hey Earl, you hear that sound?  Sounds like water’s runnin’. Let’s take a look down there. What the…….!” ……John Cafarella…..A drilling derrick at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas, produced an enormous gusher of crude oil, coating the landscape for hundreds of feet and signaling the arrival of the American oil industry. Through the later half of the 19th century, Pennsylvania had been the most oil-productive state in the country. Oy Vey! That changed with this geyser which was greenish-black in color and doubled the size of the drilling derrick, rising to a height of more than 150 feet. This was more oil than had ever been seen anywhere in the entire world. The oil flowed at an initial rate of approximately 100,000 barrels a day and it took nine days to cap the gusher. Following the discovery, petroleum, which until that time had been used in the U.S. primarily as a lubricant and in kerosene for lamps, would become the main fuel source for new inventions such as cars and airplanes; coal-powered forms of transportation including ships and trains would also convert to the liquid fuel.

1911 –Monday-  Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives…..Socrates….The first photograph to be taken in the U.S. from an airplane was snapped  by photographer Major H.A. Erickson who was flying in a Curtiss biplane piloted by Charles Hamilton over San Diego, California. The photo was of Babette LaGrind, exotic dancer practicing her famous “Romance of the Turnips” routine while wearing her Victoria’s Secret ensemble. Not so fast Pilgrim.  Further research at The History of Aerial Photography site indicates that The first photograph from an airplane was taken in 1908 by L. P. Bonvillain, in a plane piloted by Wilbur Wright in France. The first aerial photograph was taken in 1858 by Felix Tournachon, known as Nadar, from a tethered balloon over the Bievre Valley in France. Those photographs no longer exist.

            1927 –Monday, Freder: It was their hands that built this city of ours, Father. But where do the hands belong in your scheme?
Joh Frederson: In their proper place, the depths.  
The first science fiction film in history, Metropolis directed Fritz Lang, premiered in Germany.  A futuristic society with the have and have nots separated.  A have  (he) falls in love with a have not (she) and…….Thanks Herr Lang for giving us a plot that would and will be copied forever.   IMdB notes that Much to Fritz Lang's dismay, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels were big fans of the film. Goebbels met with Lang and told him that he could be made an honorary Aryan despite his Jewish background. Goebbels told him "Mr Lang, we decide who is Jewish and who is not". Lang left for Paris that very night.

1935-Wednesday-  My ambition is to have this wonderful gift produce practical results for the future of commercial flying and for the women who may want to fly tomorrow's planes. …..Amelia Earhart would become the first woman to fly solo       
  across the Pacific Ocean as she began her flight from Honolulu to Oakland. Why   anyone would want to go to Oakland is beyond us.  Fortunately for Earhart,  Dorothy Parker’s description of Oakland “there’s no there there”, was symbolic    
rather than physical. 
This very complicated flight in her second Lockheed Vega  occurred in adverse weather conditions and demonstrated Earhart's courage as well as her stubbornness. The luggage was lost but she did enjoy the in-flight        
movie on the mating habits of the Sumatran Slug.
 Earhart followed this flight with  two more first solo flights--one on April 19-20 from Los Angles, California, to  Mexico City, in 13 hours, 23 minutes and the second on May 8, 1935, from
  Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey, in 14 hours, 19 minutes.

1936 –Thursday-  Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait...
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unraveling the mystery,
That all started with the big bang (Bang)!
......Bare Naked Ladies……Happy Birthday, Robert W. Wilson, American radio astronomer born in Waco Texas.  Wilson shared, with his coworker Arno Penzias, the 1978 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation in 1965. At first they didn’t know what they had found.  They detected a persistent signal, a hiss, that they could not explain - they even cleared their antenna of pigeon droppings in an attempt to eliminate the pesky sound. Finally, they recognized it as what is now called the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). CMB is radiation left over from the Big Bang several billion years ago.   They were seeing the first photons- the oldest light in the universe- even though time and distance had converted them to microwaves.  You can “see” cosmic disturbance too.  Tune your television to any channel it doesn’t receive (or disconnect your cable) and about one percent of the undulating static you see is accounted for by this ancient remnant of the Big Bang. Or, possibly, it was a remnant of a Kevin Costner non sports movie.

1941  Mortimer Brewster: Look I probably should have told you this before but you see... well... insanity runs in my family... It practically gallops. …..Recipe for a hit Broadway show.  Take two sweet little old ladies who help nudge melancholy people off to a better world and add their earnest nephew.   The  comedy . Joseph O. Kesselring’s Arsenic and Old Lace opened its 1444-performance run at the Fulton and later the HudsonTheatre. Jean Adair and Josephine Hull play edthe sisters and Boris Karloff, yes Boris Karloff, played their nephew. It was Cary Grant in the 1944 movie.

1945 – Plastination is funny, it makes a cloudy day sunny
Makes a bee think of honey just as I think of you
Plastination is crazy, your whole perspective gets hazy
Starts you asking a daisy "What to do, what to do?"
Have you ever felt a gentle touch and then a kiss
And then and then, find it's only your Plastination again?
…apologies to Jimmy Van Heusen……..Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!/Happy Birthday, Gunther von Hagens, German anatomist born in Skalmierzyce, , Poland. Hagens invented plastination in 1977. And what, you may ask is plastination?  It’s a scientific method of preserving living beings after they are dead of course. He was also creator of BODY WORLDS—The Original Exhibitions of Real Human Bodies. The Blurb reads, ” Plastination is an advanced scientific technique that makes it possible to preserve the complete organs and bodies exhibited in HUMAN BODIES without their original appearance undergoing any changes.”

1946- Wednesday- She sends a cable comin' in from above
Don't need no phone at all
We've got a thing that's called Radar Love
We've got a wave in the air, Radar Love
The radio is playing some forgotten song
Brenda Lee's comin' on strong
The road has got me hypnotized
And I'm speedin' into a new sunrise
…..Radar Love……Golden Earrings….The first radar signal to the moon was beamed by the Army Signal Corps.  Several aliens were caught speeding, often exceeding the speed of light so they could sneak down to Earth and draw crop circles, abduct humans (but then always put them back) zig zag around the sky with their lights blinking, and make teenagers stupid.

 1946 – Wednesday- Uganda be kidding me……..Unknown……Same day, exactly 40 years to the day, in fact, after the founding of the ill-fated League of Nations, the first General Assembly of the United Nations, comprising 51 nations, met at Westminster Central Hall in London, England. One week later, the U.N. Security Council met for the first time and established its rules of procedure.  The rules involve a great deal of talking, fiddling with head sets, offering resolutions, condemning resolutions, having diplomatic receptions, accumulating traffic tickets in New York City, establishing committees, sending out observers with cute blue helmets, and picking on the United States while accepting massive donations from the United States.

1947 –Thursday-  I looked at you and suddenly
Something in your eyes I see
Soon begins bewitching me

I looked at you and suddenly
Something in your eyes I see
Soon begins bewitching me

It's that old devil moon
That you stole from the sky
It's that old devil moon in your eyes……
The Burton Lane and Frederick Loewe musical Finian’s Rainbow opened on Broadway at the 46th St. Theater for 725 performances. Featuring songs such as How Are Things in Glocca Mora, Look to the Rainbow, and That Old Devil Moon, the show would run until October 1948. Directed by Bretaigne Windust; Choreographed by Michael Kidd, the show starred Ella Logan, Donald Richards and Albert Sharpe as Finian, Later lyricist Frederick Loewe  would team with  composer Alan J. Lerner produce muscials you may have heard of; My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Brigadoon.

1949-Sunday- She's my Texarkana baby do I love her Lowdy Law
Her pappy came from Texas her maw from Arkansaw
I'm twisted round her finger like a little piece of string
And yet I'm satisfied because she's such a precious thing
If she hauled off and slapped me I would never feel the sting
She's my Texarkana baby
……RCA introduced the “single”, the 7-inch diameter 45 rpm record (remember them?  Remember stacking them and sooner or later one would get stuck and not drop? Or one would drop on a warped one and oy vey) .A single could play eight minutes of sound per side. This format, with the long-playing 33 1/3 records introduced a year earlier, soon replaced 78 rpm records. Hello Rock and Roll. The History’s Dumpster website informs us that The RCA 7" inch 45 RPM record was cute, VERY small, and RCA's very colourful vinyl (each genre of music had it's own colour of vinyl!) made it an instant hit with younger people. Popular releases were on standard black vinyl. Country releases were on green vinyl, Children's records were on yellow vinyl, Classical releases were on red vinyl, "Race" (or R&B and Gospel) records were on orange vinyl, Blue vinyl/blue label was used for semi-classical instrumental music and blue vinyl/black label for international recordings.  The first 45? It was Texarcana Baby by Eddie Arnold.

1956 – Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail. …..Bob Dylan….Speaking of records, see 45 R.P.M and RCA Victor above,  after Sam Phillips of Sun records sold Elvis Presley’s contract to RCA Victor, Elvis recorded his first songs as an RCA Victor artist in Nashville on this day and the next.  He  recorded Heartbreak Hotel, I Was the One, I’m Counting On You, I Got a Woman, Money Honey , A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down, Inna Gadda Da Vida, and Ninety Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall. The studio, which was at 1525 McGavock St. was RCA’s first in the city.

            1962-Tuesday-  In eight minutes Ranrahirca was wiped off the map …..Mayor Alfonso Caballero……A massive avalanche, called the Huascaran,  of rocks and ice buried an entire mountain village and several settlements in north-west Peru. The ice avalanche, a glacier broke off,  took place with an estimated starting volume of 10 million m3 (note; that’s a lot – 10 million cubic meters).   The avalanche traveled down 16 km and destroyed the city of Ranrahirca and eight other towns, where 4000 people died.  Then a  huge wall of ice and rocks, about 12 meters (40ft) high and 1km (1,000 yards) high, speeded down the River Santa. The river rose by eight meters (26ft) carrying with it everything in its path down the Rio Santa valley. Bodies have been found at the port of Chimbote, 60 miles from the scene of the tragedy, where the river meets the sea.

1969 , Friday,.Queen Yllana: I'm going to allow myself the exquisite pleasure of watching you while I obliterate the Earth……. The Soviet Venera 6 atmospheric probe waslaunched. It would arrive at Venus on May 17, 1969.  It recorded atmospheric data indicating that the planet has an atmosphere composed of 93-97% carbon dioxide, 2-5% nitrogen, and less than 4% oxygen. It also confirmed the accuracy of the 1958 documentary, Queen of Outer Space starring Zsa Zsa Gabor and Eric Fleming which describe the planet as inhabited by beautiful women in short skirts and high heels, ruled by a despotic Queen who wanted to destroy the Earth.  The probe will returned data to within eleven kilometers of surface before it is crushed by the planet’s atmospheric pressure.

1977 –Monday, A volcano may be considered as a cannon of immense size…..Oliver Goldsmith ……… It began suddenly and with little warning, involved major crater floor collapse, and culminated in voluminous and fast moving lava flows. The crater walls of Congo’s Nyiragongo stratovolcano fractured, and a lava lake drained in less than an hour. The lava flowed down the flanks of the volcano at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour on the upper slopes, overwhelming villages and killing at least 70 people.  But wait, there’s more.  It erupted again in 2002 and remains very active.

      1978-Monday- In the Soyuz, the little Russian capsule, you can actually hear the banging of the big shield, the big heat shield on the bottom, as it slowly erodes away from the heat and pieces of it fly off like sparks across your window, and it's an interesting thing to ride through, you know. ….Chris Hadfield……The Soviet Union launched three cosmonauts aboard a Soyuz 27(I Soyuz Standing There) capsule for a rendezvous with the Salyut VI space laboratory (very patriotic, they would Salyut the flag every day) .  The rendezvous, featuring a candlight dinner, and perhaps oysters, would have to be in space, not on the moon because, as we know, the moon has no “atmosphere.” The Soyuz 27 crew were stunned to find that Soyuz 26 was already there and …….jealousy and……envy ….oh, it was horrible –.  Actually, the always forthcoming Soviets had not revealed until this time that Salyut had two docking ports thus achieving a break through in simulated machine sex in space.  Soyuz 27 stayed up and Soyuz 26, launched in December, came back down.  From 1977 until 1982 Salyut 6 was visited by five long- and eleven short-duration crews.

1984 –Tuesday,   Where’s the beef?............    One of th most famous and therefore successful commercials in TV history, aired as Clara Peller asked the question involving her fast food hamburger.  This was Wendy’s poke in the eye at competitors MacDonalds and Burger King. Peller even recorded a Where's the Beef? novelty single with Nashville disc jockey Coyote McCloud. The ad was credited with boosting Wendy's annual revenue by 31 percent.

            1987Saturday - How much wood would a wood chipper chip if a wood chipper would chip wood? ……..John Cafarella……We’re not sure but evidently it chipped Helle Crafts of Connecticut.  Crafts had gone missing in November. Unbelievably (wink wink nudge nudge), suspicion fell on her husband.  Can you imagine? A spouse slewing a spouse?  What is this world coming to?  In a CSI Connecticut moment on this day, evidence showed that the husband, Richard, had bought a chest freezer and rented a wood chipper in the days right before Helle's disappearance. A witness then came forward, saying that he had seen a wood chipper near the Housatonic River. After thawing the snow and sifting the soil, detectives found 2,660 hairs, one fingernail, one toe nail, two teeth, one tooth cap and five droplets of blood. From this microscopic evidence, doctors were able to prove that Richard Crafts had disposed of his wife's body with a wood chipper near the river. The most important evidence was that the tooth cap matched Helle's dental records.The following year he was convicted of murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

            1999 –Sunday-  Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlight people
Living just to find emotion
Hiding somewhere in the night
Don't stop believin'
Hold on to that feelin'
Streetlight people
Don't stop believin'
Hold on
Streetlight people
Don't stop believin'
Hold on to that feelin'
Streetlight people
…………..Journey……………The debut of the Sopranos on HBO.  Tony Soprano, a Capo in the Jersey mafia, begins seeing a therapist because he is stricken by panic attacks…….remember the ducks?  Most of the stories concentrated on middle-aged mob boss Soprano (James Gandolfini), whose illicit and homicidal activities were treated as par for the course by his wife Carmela (Edie Falco),  his family, and his mob family.  Sub plots featuring his college-age daughter Meadow and especially his annoying teenage son Anthony Jr.were lesser moments in the show.

            2000 – Monday- If at first you don’t succeed, find out if the loser gets anything…….Bill Lyon……… Setting the stage for one of the most disasterous corporate mergers in a history of disasterous corporate mergers, it was announced that “America Online and Time Warner Will Merge to Create World's First Internet-Age Media and Communications Company”.  It was the largest-ever corporate merger and involved  $162 billion give or take a million. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the deal on December 14, 2000.  Five years later, AOL  CEO (we love this corporate speak) Steve Case provided a perspective into the factors that prompted the merger and some of the general reasons why it failed. One can blame it on the billions of dollars in market value evaporating during the bust, or management's stubbornness in promising more than it could deliver, or doing all the wrong things at the wrong time. Of course AOL losing four  million dial up subscribers over three years while failing to see that the future was dsl or cable, didn’t help much either

2001  - Wednesday,   The Chinese economy has shown signs of slowing down. Experts say that's what happens when your workforce starts to enter its teens……..Conan O'Brien  ……..China sent rats into orbit aboard its “Sacred Ship" Shenzhou II, powered by a Long March 2F (CZ-2F) launch vehicle powered by copious helpings of General Tso's Chicken. This was a a testing prototype for a human spacecraft. Just like the ingredients of Moo Goo Gai Pan, the Chinese were circumspect about what animals were actually on board.  However, the attack, shortly after the craft’s return to Earth,  on the city of Dongguan by 50’ long rodents that could shoot laser beams from their nostrils who seem to indicate that there were in fact few rats on board.

2005 –Monday,   What’s the frequency Kenneth…..Dan Rather…….  In a rare case of media honesty, CBS issued a damning independent review of mistakes related to a 60 Minutes Wednesday report, aired by doe-eyed, relentlessly sincere,  Dan Rather, on President George W. Bush's National Guard service and fired three news executives and a producer for what they referred to as their "myopic zeal" in rushing it to air.

2008 -  Take it easy driving– the life you save may be mine…..James Dean……. The Tata Group, which had nothing to do with Disco Diva, Tata Vega,  introduced the Tata Nano.  It wasn’t an iPod, it was an ultra cheap, ultra small car, created for the common man in India costing 100,000 rupees,  or around 2.1 Lakh,  the equivalent of $2,500 which was half the cost of the world's cheapest car on the market at the time and considerably less than an elephant.

2015 People flocked to the hospital, suffering from diarrhoea and muscle pain. Then bodies from various neighbourhoods were brought to the hospital, and this alerted us….Paulo Bernando, Director for Health in Tete province……..A mass poisoning at a funeral in the village of Chitima in the western part of the Mozambique involved beer that was deliberately contaminated with crocodile bile leaving at least 56 dead and nearly 200 hospitalized.  This is quite a statement about the quality of beer in Mozambique not to mention a bile deed. Crocodile bile is literally the digestive juice from the gall bladders of the Nile crocodile, Crocodylus niloticus.  Pombe, a traditional Mozambican beer, is made from millet or corn flour and brewed for about two days.




532 –Sunday,  Bread and circuses. That’s all the common people want…….Juvenal……And you thought soccer hoodlums were violent? The Nika riots occurred in Constantinople.  The cause? A tiff between supporters of different chariot teams—the Blues and the Greens—in the Hippodrome, a slightly smaller version of Rome’s Circus Maximus, escalated into violence  and 30,000 died.  The crowds were angry at the Emperor Justinian and wife Theodora. After a riot the previous day, Justinian decided to hang the ring leaders.  Whoops, the scaffold broke, and the watching crowd rescued two of them.  The next day, the crowds were just as angry at the Emperor as at each other, shouting “Nika, Nika”….win win.  Things went down hill from there.

1503 –Wednesday, Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. ….Jonathan Swift….Buon Compleano/Happy Birthday, painter,   Parmigianino, aka, Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola, born in, where else, Parma. He was Italy's most influential Mannerist painter in his brief twenty-year career. Mannerist style that became a formative influence on the post-High Renaissance - otherwise known as the years between Raphael's death and the beginning of the Baroque phase in 1600) generation.  Parmigiano means “little chap from Parma” according to art sources. He eventually  became obsessed with alchemy and neglected art.

 1569 –Saturday-  Ever wonder we never see the headline, "Psychic Wins Lottery"? unknown……Originally chartered in 1566, Queen Elizabeth I established the first English lottery, when she offered 400,000 tickets for sale. Prizes included china, tapestries, wigs, an autographed picture of her father, tickets to the 1588 clash with the Spanish Armada, dinner for two at the Tower of London,  and cash. The purpose of the lottery was to raise money for repairing harbors and other public works, or as the announcement put it, "reparation of the havens and strength of the Realme, and towardes such other publique good workes." You had to wait  a while to find out if you won since the drawing occurred on this date in 1569. Each ticket holder won a prize, and the total value of the prizes equalled the money raised. The lottery was promoted by scrolls posted throughout the country showing sketches of the prizes according to John Ashton’s, A History of English Lotteries, 1893.  In 1612, the London Lottery was established by King James I and that granted the Virginia Company of London the right to raise money and then found the original settlement in Jamestown.  Lotteries have been around for quite a while.  They go so far back that they’re mentioned in the Bible, and Julius Caesar himself is known to have encouraged lottery games in Rome to help pay for repair work that needed to be done in the city.  In medieval times, Europe was a hotbed of lottery activity. In 1420, residents of the French town of L’Ecluse decided to follow Caesar’s lead by using a public lottery to help raise money; this time to increase the town’s defenses. Charitable causes prompted officials in the Belgium city of Bruges to hold a lottery in 1466 to raise money for the poor and needy. In the early 16th century, the Italians caught lottery fever when they introduced the idea of a ‘number’ lottery in Florence. Interestingly, the word ‘lottery’ is thought to originate from the Italian ‘lotto’, which simply means “fate”.

         1757 – (could have been 1755) Tuesday-  Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint. ……Happy Birthday, Alexander Hamilton, American patriot born in Charlestown, Nevis, British West Indies. He was the first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton fought in the American Revolution, wrote a number of the Federalist Papers, and was a key member of George Washington’s first cabinet. He  was instrumental in shaping America’s early fiscal course. After serving as  Secretary of the Treasury from 1789-1795, Hamilton returned to New York and resumed the practice of law. He would be mortally wounded in a duel with odious, reptilian, treasonous, Aaron Burr at Weehawken New Jersey , and went kaput in New York City the following day, July 12, 1804.

            1759 –Thursday-  No one will have the endurance. To collect on his insurance,…………Tom Lehrer……….The first American Life Insurance Company was incorporated when Presbyterian Synods in Philadelphia and New York set up the Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers. Whew! Life insurance wasn't added to its products until 1760.  Life insurance has been around in various forms since the Roman EmpireThe first policies were granted by "burial clubs" in Roman society. These clubs covered the cost of funeral expenses for members and helped the surviving family members.

            1770 –Thursday - Rhubarb and patience can work wonders…..German Proverb….Benjamin Franklin’s accomplishments are too numerous to mention but on this day, in a culinary note, he sent the  first shipment of rhubarb (Rheum Palmatum) from London to the United States.  He sent it to his friend, John Bartram in Philadelphia. Of course rhubarb had been around for a while, earliest records date back to 2700 BC in China where rhubarb was cultivated for medicinal purposes (its purgative qualities). One of the most famous pharmacologists of ancient times the Greek Discorides, spoke of a root known as "rha" or "rheon", which came from the Bosphorus, the strait that separates Europe and Asia.  Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but is legally considered a fruit. In 1947 a New York court declared rhubarb a fruit because it’s most often cooked as one in the United States. Only eat the stalk. Don’t eat the leaves, they are poisonous.

            1787 –Thursday-  I have looked further into space than ever human being did before me. I have observed stars of which the light, it can be proved, must take two million years to reach the earth. …….William Herschel discovered the first two moons of Uranus, six years after he had discovered the planet itself. Titania’s diameter is 998.2 miles (1610 km) and its distance from Uranus is 271,104 miles (436,300 km). Oberon, is the outermost of the major moons of Uranus and has a diameter of 1523 km and a distance from Uranus of 583,500 km. These names were suggested by Herschel’s son John Herschel in 1852 at the request of William Lassell, who had discovered two more moons of Uranus the year before which became known as Ariel and Umbriel.  Why name the moons for characters in Shakespeare?  Well, not all are from Shakespeare, Umbriel is from Alexander Pope’s poem the Rape of the Lock. Ariel appears in both. Lassel selected these names as the characters were “bright and dark spirits”.  The tradition has continued and the Uranian moon count is now at 27 and rising with all named after Shakespearean characters.* Gnus ongoing quest for correct  pronunciation note.  The planet is pronounced yure-ernus - with the emphasis on the first syllable.  It is NOT pronounced Your Anus! That would indicate that “Your anus has a ring around it. Your anus contains methane gas. Your anus was visited by a space probe. Your anus is blue.  Your anus has 21 named moons and 6 unnamed moons.”  All of these are incorrect......except for the methane 

An internist, radiologist, surgeon and pathologist are walking in the forest. The internist says "something is flying over us". The radiologist says "it could be a duck or maybe a turkey... or maybe a hawk." The surgeon, losing patience, grabs his shotgun and blasts the thing out of the sky. The surgeon then turns to the pathologist and says "go find out what that thing was!" ……Happy Birthday, Sir James Paget, British surgeon and physiologist born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk .  Paget is considered (with German, Rudolf Virchow) to be a founder of the science of pathology. Not one to sit around idling, during his busy career, Paget discovered  in  a human muscle the parasitic worm that causes trichinosis in 1834. He also described an early indication of breast cancer known as Paget’s disease in 1874. Paget was one of the first to recommend surgical removal of bone-marrow tumors instead of amputation of the limb. He also has the somewhat dubious (in the opinion of Professor Sy Yentz) honor of having an abscess named after him.  The Paget’s abscess is one that recurs around  the remains of a former abscess. Yes, abscess makes the heart grow fonder…….

1861-Friday-  Whereas, the election of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin to the offices of president and vice-president of the United States of America, by a sectional party, avowedly hostile to the domestic institutions and to the peace and security of the people of the State of Alabama, preceded by many and dangerous infractions of the constitution of the United States by many of the States and people of the Northern section, is a political wrong of so insulting and menacing a character as to justify the people of the State of Alabama in the adoption of prompt and decided measures for their future peace and security, therefore:

Be it declared and ordained by the people of the State of Alabama, in Convention assembled, That the State of Alabama now withdraws, and is hereby withdrawn from the Union known as "the United States of America," and henceforth ceases to be one of said United States, and is, and of right ought to be a Sovereign and Independent State. ….Ordinance of Secession…. Alabama seceded from the Union, presumably because people could no longer leave with a banjo on their knee. Alabama had been the 22nd state admitted to the Union on December 14, 1819.  Alabama rejoined the Union on June 25, 1868 along with Florida, Louisiana and North and South Carolina.

1878 –Friday- I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose….Woody Allen……….The origins are milky of murky but the Xeroxian World of the Internet informs us that for the first time, milk was delivered in glass bottles. So this is officially Milk Day in the U.S.  The idea came from Alexander Campbell, of New Yorkwho founded the New York Dairy Company. Previously, the cow was brought into the home and milked….no, no, no Professor Sy Yentz has his lactating sense of humor, actually people cupped their hands and……….no, no, no again. It really had been ladled out of a container by the milkman, right into the customer’s own container. According to the site Cooksinfo.com - The first milk "bottle" in America (the Lester Milk Jar, whose lid was held in place as a screw cap), wasn't patented until 29 January 1878 (18 days after the alleged first delivery), and no one is sure that it ever even actually saw use. The first viable milk bottles were patented by the Warren Glass Company in 1880. The site also notes that a search of the New York Times – 1878-1880 had no mention of Campbell or the New York Dairy Company.  There are only five known examples of this jar in existence today. Be extra alert while visiting garage sales.

1895-Friday-  I was always playing the Hammond Organ back to front even during the days of the Nice, going back to 1968. Really what I was doing there, was choosing notes at random and trying to make some sense of them, improvising back to front….Keith Emerson…… Happy Birthday, Laurens Hammond, American businessman born in Evenston, Illinois and inventor of the electronic keyboard instrument known as the Hammond organ in 1934. .....of course his kidneys, heart, liver, brain, etc were Hammond’s organs too.

1898 – Tuesday,  Middle age is when you're sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn't for you. ….Ogden Nash…….A. E. Keith and the brothers John and Charles Erickson, employees of Almon Strowger, received a patent for the rotary dial. “Don’t touch that dial” though as it wasn’t until 1919, however, that the first rotary dial entered into service. The rotations of the dial sent electrical pulses to the switch to indicate the digits of the telephone number. Dialing a 1 produced one pulse as the dial returned to its original position; dialing a 9 produced nine pulses; and ….you get it.  Dial telephones were tied to the invention of automatic switching, another Almon Strowger innovation.

1906Thursday,  I know LSD; I don't need to take it anymore. Maybe when I die, like Aldous Huxley. ……..Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!/Happy Birthday, Albert Hoffman,Swiss. Chemist in Baden.  Hoffman’s claim to fame is the psychedelic drug lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD.  Hoffman synthesized the stuff in 1938. He isolated compounds found in ergot (Claviceps purpurea), a fungus affecting rye.  LSD was popularized in the 1960s by individuals such as wackadoodle, Harvard  psychologist Timothy Leary, who encouraged American students to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.”

            1908-Saturday- Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see……..President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon to be a national monument.  It would be designated a national park in 1919.  The two classes of reservations comprising the national-park and national-monument system differ primarily in the reasons for which they are established. National parks are areas set apart by Congress for the use of the people of the United States generally, because of some outstanding scenic feature or natural phenomena. Uses have come to included littering, snow boarding, tramping through restricted areas, falling off mountains, becoming trapped in mountains requiring thousands of dollars for rescue, and posing in from of Olf Faithful.  National monuments, on the other hand, are areas reserved by the National Government because they contain objects of historic, prehistoric, or scientific interest. Ordinarily established by presidential proclamation under authority of Congress, occasionally these areas also are established by direct action of Congress. Size doesn’t matter as size is unimportant in the case of the national monuments.

                1919-Saturday- Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make! …Bram Stoker…..Romania annexed Transylvania.  Transylvanians did not discover the annexation until after dark when they arose from their coffins.  They took to the streets to protest but of course all the Romanians were asleep.  They knocked on Romanian doors and windows but they could not get in unless invited in. The whole thing was a bloody mess. By the next day the Transylvanians  had to go back to their coffins. In a masterpiece of timing, On November 10, a day before the armistice ending World War I was signed—and with an Allied victory assured—Romania reentered the war, occupying Transylvania.Romania is located in the southeast of Europe, on the 45 degrees North Parallel, in the northern part of the Balkanic peninsula, inside the Danube river basin opening on the Black Sea.  Transylvania is the Romanian province situated inside the Carpathian Mountains

1922 –Wednesday- Sugar, ah honey honey
You are my candy girl
And you've got me wanting you.
Honey, ah sugar sugar
You are my candy girl …
.The Archies……….Insulin was first used to treat a patient with diabetes.  Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. It was isolated in 1921-22 at the University of Toronto when it was sent to a separate room for a chemical “Time Out”. The scientists involved in the research were Dr. Fredrick Banting, Charles Best (a medical student at the time of the discovery), Professor J. J. R. Macleod and Dr. James Collip. Diabetes, known as diabetes mellitus, is a disorder caused by the body's inability to break down certain substances, notably sugar. If the body is unable to transform or metabolize food into energy due to a lack of a protein hormone produced in the pancreas, the result is a high concentration of sugar in the blood and urine. On this day, fourteen-year-old Leonard Thompson, who had been diabetic since 1919 and weighed only 65 pounds, was about to slip into a coma and probably die. After receiving Collip's extract, Thompson's symptoms began to disappear; his blood sugar returned to normal and he was much more alert.

1924-Wednesday, We're all just bags of bones and muscle and hormones; I'll never understand what makes our minds do the things we do. It's like that statue of the monkey holding a skull. We're trying to use a thing we don't understand to understand ourselves. …….Meshell Ndegeocello…….Joyeaux Anniversaire/Happy Birthday, Roger Charles Louis Guillemin is a French-American physiologist  born in Dijon. Guillemin researched the hormones produced by the hypothalamus gland. His work resulted in his being awarded a share (along with Andrew Schally and Rosalyn Yalow) of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1977. Guillemin proved the hypothesis that the hypothalamus releases hormones that regulate the pituitary gland. Guillemin also discovered an important class of proteins called endorphins that are involved in the perception of pain.

1928 –Wednesday- You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.…Leon Trotsky……. Leon Trotsky, co-leader with Lenin of the Revolution of 1918 was exiled by the malevolent Josef Stalin.  Trotsky, who favored more democracy, lost a power struggle after Lenin went kaputsky in 1924.  Stalin would have Trotsky kaputskied in Mexico in 1940 but then Stalin had millions of people kaputskied.

1939 –Wednesday- All that glitters may not be gold, but at least it contains free electrons…..John Desmond Baernal ……..The element Fr (francium) was discoveredium. It was discovered by Marguerite Catherine Perey, a French chemist while busy analyzing actinium’s decay sequence. There has been a notable deterioration of good Actium in the movies and  television for years. Although considered a natural element, and the heaviest member of the alkali metal series francium is  also  the least electronegative of all the known elements. Like Al Sharpton, Kardashians and hosts of celebrity news shows, it has no known use.  Scientists estimate that there is no more than one ounce of francium in the earth’s crust at one time. Since there is so little naturally occurring francium on earth, scientists must produce francium in order to study it. Francium can be produced by bombarding thorium with protons or by bombarding radium with neutrons, or by invading Gaul, or by watching Jerry Lewis movies, or by being defeated by the Germans in war after war. The atomic number is 87 and the weight is 223

            1949 –Tuesday- Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it…Alfred Hitchcock……. East is east and Midwest is Midwest and today the twain would meet as NBC linked its East and Midwest TV networks, celebrating with a special ceremonial telecast. NBC had launched its first TV network in 1946 by transmitting programs from its New York station to its Philadelphia and Schenectady stations. The company didn't open its Midwest network until September of 1948. This paved the way for Robert Blake in Helltown, My Mother the Car, Hello Larry, Manimal, or Pink Lady and Jeff. The West Coast would be added in September 1951, creating the country's first coast-to-coast network.

1958 -By this time, my lungs were aching for air.. Seahunt debuted on CBS-TV. The show was aired on the network for four years. Actually, a fact check by the sterling Editorial Board of the Gnus found that in fact it made its debut on week earlier (IMdB). Lloyd Bridges as diver Mike Nelson traveled 1500 miles inland to a flooded mine where two men were trapped in a foul air pocket. Veteran television villain Leo Gordon was on hand for the fun. 2nd episode and they were already away from the sea. Seahunt would become oversaturated and disappear under the water after four seasons.

   1964 –Saturday- Goin' to a go go
Goin' to a go go
Na-na-na-na, yeah-hey
Well there's a brand new place I found-a
Where people goin' from miles around-a
They come from everywhere
And if you'll drop in there
You might see anyone in town-a
(Goin' to a go go) everybody's
(Goin' to a go go) come on now
(Don't you wanna go?) yeah
A one more time, yeah
………Smokey Robinson………The opening of The Whiskey A Go Go at 8901 Sunset Blvd at Clark, West Hollywood, CA. We’ve also seen this as January 16 but  …. The night club, seating 500,  was probably the first disco – discotheque in those days. The club initially started the whole ‘trend’ of having a mini-skirted girl dancing above the crowd in a cage.  Mini skirted girls dancing in a cage and the words “a go go” would quicky advance to cliché staus and then to banal  and then caricature in thousands of clubs and television shows over the next few years. Johnny Rivers was the first sensation to come out of the club, soon after it opened.  House bands included The Doors, Chicago, and War.

             1964 -Saturday-  Smoking is hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, and dangerous to the lungs. …King James I……. On this day,  the U.S. Surgeon General’s  (long awaited) Report on Smoking was the subject of a press conference at which  a coughing, wheezing Surgeon General Luther Terry, announced America’s first widely publicized official recognition of the dangers of smoking. The report stated cigarette smoking was a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action. It had been ordered by President Kennedy back in 1962 and was the product of reviews of  over 7,000 articles in medical journals. The report concluded that cigarette smoking was a cause of lung and larynx cancer and of chronic bronchitis. Male cigarette smokers were 1,000 times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smokers. In 1965, the U.S. Congress required printed health warnings on cigarette packages.  Today, despite warnings on cigarette packages that tell you smoking will kill you, people still smoke and die and cause health costs to go up for the rest of us.  

1967 –Wednesday-  Scuse me while I kiss this guy…….  Mis-heard lyrics……Jimi Hendrix recorded Purple Haze, featuring one of the great guitar riffs in rock n’ roll, for the Are You Experienced album with Mitch Mitchell (drums)  and Noel Redding (bass). Songfacts notes that when the recording was sent to Hendrix's American label, a note said, "deliberate distortion, do not correct."

1972 – Tuesday,   Carl Kolchak: You must really enjoy your work. Nurse Eisen: A well-done autopsy is a joy forever.    Way ahead of its time… The TV movie Kolchak, The Night Stalker aired for the first time. It was followed by a series of 22 episodes that ended Mar 28, 1975. Starring Ralphie’s dad in Christmas Story, Darren McGavin, and Simon Oakland, MaGavin investigated supernatural – almost always evil – in Chicago.

1973 –Thursday- I screwed up the game of baseball. Baseball needed a jolt of offense for attendance, so they decided on the DH. I never thought it would last this long …..Ron Blomberg…..The owners of America's 24 major league baseball teams voted to allow teams in the American League to use a "designated pinch-hitter" that could bat for the pitcher, (pitchers were notoriously weak hitters in general) while still allowing the pitcher to stay in the game.  The rule would eventually prolong the careers of creaking, geriatric players who could no longer play the field. The first official “DH” was Ron Blomberg (surprisingly, a young player but totally inept as a fielder) who wore number 12 (Gil McDougald’s old number.  Gil McDougald was Professor Sy Yentz favorite player as a youth)  for the New York Yankees on opening day, April 6. Blomberg drew a walk from Boston Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant. Blomberg’s career was undistinguished, not only could he not field, he couldn’t hit well either.

1986 –Saturday- I might grow old in Brisbane, but I would never grow up …..David Malouf…….100,000 people,  58 kangaroos, 43 wallabys, 39 koalas and a platypus, streamed onto Brisbane's spectacular Gateway Bridge for the official opening and to walk over the bridge for the first time. The Gateway Bridge was developed as an additional crossing of the Brisbane River in addition to the Captain Cook and Story bridges. The bridge is 64.5 meters high and stretches 1.63 kilometers across the Brisbane River, with its main span 260 meters long.  Tolls would be 3.50 Australian dollars by 2010.

1994 – Tuesday, Fashion, turn to the left
Fashion, turn to the right
Oo, fashion
We are the goon squad and we're coming to town
Beep-beep, beep-beep
…..David Bowie…….Annoying, relentlessly self promoting phony, eyelash batting, eye rolling, grossly overrated,  Diana Ross made Mr. Blackwell's Worst-Dressed List. Blackwell refers to her as "a Martian meter maid."  Annoying, relentlessly self promoting phony, Madonna (didn’t we already say that?) garnered worst dressed honors a year later.

1996 –Thursday-  You know something I could really do without? The Space Shuttle. ... It's irresponsible. The last thing we should be doing is sending our grotesquely distorted DNA out into space………George Carlin …….STS-72 was launched from the Kennedy Space Center. This was the  start of the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Endeavour. The primary objective of the STS-72 mission was to capture and return to Earth a Japanese microgravity research spacecraft known as Space Flyer Unit or SFU.  Of course, you may think that when returned to Earth, the SFU mutated, turned into a giant lizard and attacked Toykyo. But no, it didn’t. It did, however contain mutant microbes that would cause Musicalis Psychopathia, a disease that caused people to annoy everyone nearby by playing their radios at a decibal level of 100 at the beach.

2000 Tuesday, One night I came home and fell asleep in somebody’s satellite dish. My dreams were showing up on TVs all over the world. …..Steven Wright…..Probably built by  Chinese children,  construction of the first segment of the China-U.S. Cable Network began.  This was the first undersea fiber optic cable network between the China and the U.S. The cable would carry data, video, and voice traffic directly between two points in China (Chongming and Shantou) and two points in the U.S. (Bandon, Oregon and San Luis Obispo, California) at 80Gbps, making it both easier and quicker for the Chinese to steal American technology……although we could send them cable shows with bearded hillbillys, over-surgically enhanced bimbos, and MSNBC and it would serve them right.  

2001Thursday, Edward Douglas: Are you a doctor? Montgomery: Well, I'm more of a vet. …..1996, Island of Dr. Moreau…….Researchers in Oregon announced that that they had successfully produced the first monkey genetically altered to contain a jelly-fish gene for florescence thus producing a King Kong sized Portugese man-o- war that glowed in the dark.  The gene-altered monkey, born in Oregon in October 2000 and endowed with jellyfish genes even though the jellyfish DNA has no medical value it was is a popular tool with genetic engineers because it makes animals glow green when they're exposed to blue light, offering quick and dramatic evidence that a gene-transfer method works.

2007Thursday, The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars and the selfish hide in high places. …..Bryant H. McGill…..The ever considerate, Earth conscious climate change awareness  Chinese destroyed  its Feng Yun 1-C weather satellite, launched in 1999, with a ballistic missile loaded with General Tso’s Chicken with extra bird pepper and Thai pepper 537 miles above the Earth. The impact created about 28% of the junk  in orbit around the Earth at the time. . The U.S. halted such tests in 1985 for fear of creating such debris.  Space.com noted in January 2013 that a fragment of the Chinese Fengyun 1C weather satellite, destroyed on purpose in 2007, struck and damaged the Russian nanosatellite BLITS. After the impact, BLITS was knocked from its original orientation and was now spinning rapidly and ultimately lost.

2012Wednesday, Q: What is the fastest animal in the world? A: Anything when it's passing through Somalia……..The government of the Netherlands announced that would ban the use of the drug khat, a mild narcotic often used by the Somali community. The ban came after concerns emerged that the drug caused a public threat and had the potential to induce psychosis or schizophrenia and cause them to be Somalian pirates and attack boats in the canals of Amsterdam.   What were Somalians doing in the Netherlands?  Khat is a flowering evergreen shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The plant (Catha edulis) contains two alkaloids, cathinone and cathine, which act as stimulants.  Users simply chew the green khat leaves, keeping a ball of partially chewed leaves against the inside of their cheek (not unlike chewing tobacco).



1539 –Thursday- The best armor is staying out of gun-shot. ….Italian proverb …….. Holy Toledo! The Treaty of Toledo, ended  the conflict between Francis I of France and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.  This was Francis' Third Italian War. “So, what’s on today’s schedule Your Highness?”  “Not much.  Hey! Let’s have another Italian War”. When Francesco of Milan went kaput, ending the Sforza dynasty. Francis claimed Milan, allying with Suleiman the Magnificent (ruler of the Ottoman Empire). Naturally, Charles V was not thrilled with this.  The French took  Turin in1536, aided by Turkish fleets. The war ended inconclusively with the Truce of Nice in 1538  followed by the Treaty of Toledo. Toledo was selected for the treaty signing after the combatants were unable to agree on Akron, Cleveland, Dayton, Columbus, or Beavercreek.

            1577 –Wednesday- Substances are……far more subtle or fine…than a vapour, mist, or distilled oiliness, although…many times thicker than air ………Ghelu'g'gehe verjoardah/Happy Birthday, Jan Baptist van Helmont, Flemish (speaking of Belgians –see Etienne Lenoir, 1822 below) chemist, physiologist and physician born in Brussels.  Helmont attempted to construct a natural philosophical system based on chemical concepts. He also developed the concept of gas……probably after a meal of extra hot jalapeno tacos…. a word he coined from the Greek chaos – gas, not tacos. He was the first to understand that there are gases distinct in kind from those in atmospheric air. Helmont  believed that his "gas sylvestre" (carbon dioxide) given off by burning charcoal was  the same as that was  produced by fermenting must and the same gas which sometimes renders the air of caves unbreathable – sort of like the treadmill area at the gym around 5:00 p.m.

1665  - Thursday,   Just because we can't find a solution it doesn't mean that there isn't one…..Andrew Wiles…..We note the kapution of  Pierre de Fermat a French lawyer and mathematician (Fermat’s Principle). His equation xn + yn = zn is called Fermat’s Last Theorem and remained unproven for centuries.  The theorem was actually a note scribbled in the margin of his copy of the ancient Greek text Arithmetica by Diophantus. The scribbled note was discovered posthumously, and the original is now lost. However, a copy was preserved in a book published by Fermat's son. In 1905 Paul Wolfskehl, a German mathematician, bequeathed a reward of 100,000 marks to whoever could find a proof to  Fermat’s “last theorem." It stumped mathematicians until 1993, when Andrew John Wiles made a breakthrough (according to the Wolfram Mathematics site) by by (1) replacing elliptic curves with Galois representations, (2) reducing the problem to a class number formula, (3) proving that formula, and (4) tying up loose ends that arise because the formalisms fail in the simplest degenerate cases.  Why a child of five could understand this.  Someone fetch a child of five……Groucho Marx.

1716 –Sunday-  Up the bayou.  Down the bayou.  Across the bayou…..Louisiana directions………Feliz Cumplea–os/!Happy Birthday  Antonio de Ulloa, Spanish scientist and naval officer born in Seville. He was the first Spanish Governor of Louisiana.  Whenever someone left his office they had to say, “Ulloa, I must be going”- it would have made Groucho very proud.  He was  born in Seville, Spain and discovered the element platinum (atomic number 78) in 1735. The Spanish called this metal Platina, a diminutive of Plata, the Spanish word for silver. Actually, the first European reference to a platinum-like substance was in 1557 as Italian scientist, Julius Caesar Scaliger described a metal, found in Colombia,  that was “impossible to melt. In yet another case of “dueling discoveries” both Ulloa and Scaliger receive credit for platinum although neither could qualify for the American Express Platinum Card.  Ulloa was a brillian scientist but a conspicuous failure as a politician and was, in fact, driven from Louisiana by the French.

1729 –Sunday,  But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint……..Happy Birthday, Edmund Burke, Irish philosopher, academic, and politician born in Dublin.Burke was a parliamentary orator, and political thinker prominent in public life from 1765 to a 1795 and important in the history of political theory. He championed conservatism in opposition to Jacobinism in his 1790, Reflections on the Revolution in France. In America, he opposed the Stamp Act arguing that t British policy had been inflexible and called for more pragmatism. He believed that government should be a cooperative relationship between rulers and subjects and that, while the past was important, a willingness to adapt to the inevitability of change

1737 –Saturday-  I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes
I saw the sign
Life is demanding without understanding
I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes
I saw the sign
……….Ace of Base……     Happy Birthday, John Hancock, he of the huge signature on the Declaration of Independence.  He was born in Braintree, Massachusetts. Hancock was elected to Continental Congress in 1774, elected President of the Continental Congress in 1775, a member of Massachusetts state Constitutional Convention, and elected Governor of Massachusetts, through 1793.  There are two stories regarding the giant signature; one is that on signing the Declaration, Hancock commented, "The British ministry can read that name without spectacles; let them double their reward." An alternate story, has him saying, "There, I guess King George will be able to read that!" He was the first to sign and he did so in an entirely blank space. Either way, everyone else was mad at him f or taking up too much space. Note: We’ve also seen Hancock’s DOB as January 23 but we’ll go with the Hancock.org source.

            1773-Tuesday-  I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums. …Steven Wright….. The first public museum in America was established, in Charleston, S.C.  as the Charleston Library Society of South Carolina announced its intention of forming a museum. Its purpose was to promote the better understanding of agriculture and herbal medicine in the area. Prior to this time museums were designed for the exclusive use of collectors…….not the public. Anyone who has been in a museum as parents and/or teachers let children/teenagers run amok might think the public use idea has some flaws.

            1792 – Thursday- Lithium tweaks many mood-altering chemicals in the brain, and its effects are complicated. Most interesting, lithium seems to reset the body’s circadian rhythm, its inner clock. In normal people, ambient conditions, especially the sun, dictate their humors and determine when they are tuckered out for the day. They’re on a twenty-four-hour cycle. Bipolar people run on cycles independent of the sun. And run and run…..Sam Kean……Grattis pŒ fšdelsedagen/Happy Birthday  Johan August Arfwedson, Swedish chemist born in Stockholm.  Arfwedson discovered lithium in in the mineral petalite in 1817.  Follow this closely now------ the pelalite was discovered on an island outside of Stockholm, Sweden  by Brazilian explorer, Jose Bonaficio Entrada y Silva. Yes, a Brazilian discovered pelatite in Sweden.  Silva said “tenho encontrado pelatite na Suécia”.  Arfwedson said, ” Och jag hittade litium i pelatite”. Lithium (Li) is a soft, silvery, highly reactive metallic element that is used as a heat transfer medium, in thermonuclear weapons, and in various alloys, ceramics, and optical forms of glass. Its atomic number  is 3. and weight is atomic weight 6.941.  Of course there was the bear who was interested in lithium.  He spent summers at the North Pole and Summers at the South Pole.  He was bi-polar.  Pure lithium would be isolated by Humphry Davy using electrolysis.

            1822 –Saturday- What do African governments and internal combustion engines have in common?  They are both measured in revolutions per minute………Joyeaux Anniversaire/Happy Birthday, Jean-Joseph-Étienne Lenoir , Belgian inventor born in Mussy-la-Ville who devised the world’s first commercially successful internal-combustion engine, a double-acting, electric spark-ignition internal combustion engine which was fueled by coal gas in 1860. Lenoir’s engine was a converted double-acting steam engine with slide valves to admit the air-fuel mixture and to discharge exhaust products. One of these engines powered a road vehicle in 1863; another ran a boat. Because of improved designs by Nikolaus Otto and other inventors, the Lenoir engine became obsolete and only about 500 Lenoir engines were built. A favorite parlor or tavern game is “name famous Belgians”. So, go ahead……………

1848 –Wednesday,  You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world……
John Lennon…….The Palermo rising, led by Tony Soprano, Tony “Big Tuna” Accardo, Scarface Al Capone, Frank The Enforcer Nitti, Charlie Lucky Luciano, Joe Bananas Bonano, Anthony, Whack Whack Indelicato, Big Paul Castellano, Crazy Joe Gallo, Carmine Cigar  Galante, Frank The Prime Minister Costello, Anthony Gaspipe Gasso, Albert Mad Hatter Anastasion, and Sam The Plumber DeCavalcante,  took place in Sicily against the Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The Congress of Vienna, held in 1815 following the defeat of Napoleon, reunited the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily for the first time since the thirteenth century as the Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. On 9th January 1848 political agitators in Palermo circulated a pamphlet written by Francesco Bagnasco, who had been active in the revolution of 1820, in which he called on all Sicilians to rise up against the Bourbons on January 12 – King Ferdinand's birthday. This was the first of the revolutions of 1848.  It was a revolting year. Uprisings occurred in the Italian states, France, German states. Denmark, Schleswig, Habsburg Empire, Kingdom of Hungary, Galicia, Sweden, Greater Poland, Belgium, and Ireland

1856 –Saturday- No small dabs of color - you want plenty of paint to paint with Happy Birthday, John Singer Sargent, American painter/portraitist born in Florence, Italy. Sargeant is noted for his coloring and use of light. Among is works are; Girl in a Pink Dress, Lady Agnew (no relation to former Vice President Spiro Agnew) of Lochnaw, and  Mrs. Fiske Warren and Her Daughter

1866 Friday-  Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives….Socrates ….The Royal Aeronautical Society was formed in London. Initially, there were sixty five members consisting of  the 8th Duke of Argyll (George John Douglas Campbell) and a group of "aerial navigation enthusiasts". This unique group set about prompting heavier-than-air flight 37 years before the Wright Brothers made the first successful, powered flight  according to their web page. The Society's first public meeting was held in the rooms of the Society of Arts in