March Gnus


Michelangelo's David

David After 2 Years in the U.S - Courtesy of our Fast Food Nation

March was named for the Roman god of war, Mars. Sadly Marsoids,  there are no U.S or federal holidays in March. We'll have to settle for  Red Cross Month, Women's History Month National Nutrition Month, International Hamburger & Pickle Month  (we thought that’s interesting considering it is Nutrition Month too), National Peanut Month- See George Washington Carver, March 5,  National Noodle Month, Irish Heritage Month, and St. Patrick's Day….not to mention Professor Sy Yentz’ Birthday. The March full moon has been give the rather romantic name of  "Worm Moon".  The alternative is the equally poetic, “Sap Moon”.

 Contrary to popular thinking the equinox is not equal day and night on the first day of Spring. In the northern hemisphere, at latitude 40 degrees equal night and day actually  occur about March 17 . On the actual dates we call the equinox, the day is about 7 minutes longer than the night.

Science Gnus is a compendium News of Science, History, Mathematics and Items of Interest, with comment, elucidation and occasional exaggeration, for each day of the year.  It also contains Professor Sy Yentz, answering questions, Dr. Matt Matician connecting science and mathematics, the Activity of the Month, Factorinos, Trivia Questions, Bonus Trivia Questions, Extinct Kaput animals and plants, Jokes, Obscure Questions, Scientists of the Month, and the Flower, Rock and Words of the Month

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 "March is a month of considerable frustration - it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away."
-   Thalassa Cruso

Beware the ides of March.
- William Shakespeare

 March is the month of expectation,
-   Emily Dickinson, XLVIII

March comes in with an adder's head, and goes out with a peacock's tail.
Richard Lawson Gales


      –752 B.C – Saturday-  The first in the tradition of Roman Triumphs – marching through Rome displaying booty and captives from successful campaigns and battles – was celebrated by Romulus, the first King of Rome.  The triumph celebrated the Roman victory at Caeninenses a Sabine town in Latium.  The battle was occasioned by the  The Rape of the Sabine Women, an episode in the legendary history of Rome  
 in which the first generation of Roman men acquired wives for themselves from the neighboring Sabine SabineThe Sabines were an Italic tribe that lived in the central Appennines of ancient Italy, inhabiting also Latium north of the Anio before the founding of Rome...
 families. (In this context, rape means abduction rather than sexual violation).  As told by
Recounted by Livy and Plutarch, Parallel Lives,
Romulus petitioned the surrounding tribes for rights to intermarry. All  Roman requests were rejected. Romulus decided that if the neighboring towns would not share their women, Rome would take them.The Romans sent out word that they would hold the grandest festival and greatest games in a celebration, to honor 'Equestrian Neptune'. The Sabine came in the greatest number, bringing their wives and children. When the games began and all were distracted; the signal was given and the Roman men rushed after the young maidens, most the women of the Sabine, swept them up and carried them off in all directions to their homes. Startled, most of the visitors fled, leaving their women at the mercy of the Romans. After this B.C version of the Dating Game, the Battle of Caeninenses occurred. The Romans celebrated with the Triumph and got to keep the girls.  LivyTitus Livius , known as Livy in English, was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...Plutarch

            286 –Monday-  Roman Emperor Diocletian (infamous for his persecution of Christians….sort of like NPR)  raised Maximian to the rank of Caesar. Follow this now because in……see below

            293 –Wednesday- Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximian appointed Constantius Chlorus and Galerius as Caesares, thus beginning the Tetrarchy. This was a four-part division of the Roman Empire. Diocletian continued to rule in the East. He made Maximian co-emperor in the West. They were each called "Augustus" which signified that they were emperors. Subordinate to them were the two "Caesars": Galerius, in the east, and Constantius in the west. An Augustus was always emperor. Sometimes the Caesars were also referred to as emperors.  The key name here is Constantius Chlorus who was the father of the emperor  Contantine the Great…….who converted Rome to Christianity.

            1420Wednesday- Pope Martinus I, aka Martin the V called for crusade against the hussieten . Everyone said “yeah, great idea, those hussieten have been getting to uppity…wait….. who are? Or what is hussieten? Everyone waited for the explanation. Turns out they were followers of John Hus in what is now the Czech Republic who were fighting for religious reforms.

            1445 –Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Sandro Botticelli, (Original name Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi)  Italian Renaissance painter, famous for his Birth of Venus (c. 1485) and Primavera (1477-78) – which can be seen at the Uffizi Galleries in Florence. Considering his contemporary fame, it is notable that Botticelli remained little known for centuries after his death. Then his work was rediscovered late in the 19th century by a group of artists in England known as the Pre-Raphaelites who included John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

1565 –Monday- When my baby smiles at me I go to Rio
De Janeiro, my-oh-me-oh
I go wild and then I have to do the Samba
And La Bamba
Now I'm not the kind of person
With a passionate persuasion for dancin'
Or roma-ancin'
But I give in to the rhythm
And my feet follow the beatin' of my hear-eart
Woh-ho-oh-oh, when my baby
When my baby smiles at me I go to Rio……
.Peter Allen………The city of Rio de Janeiro was founded. The first Portuguese expedition to explore the Brazilian coast, between 1501 and 1502, visited places like the Guanabara Bay and Angra dos Reis. Gaspar de Lemos who was a captain of a ship in Pedro Alvares Cabral’s fleet made the explorations. It is legend that they thought that the bay that they eventually named Guanabara Bay was a river hence the name Rio which means river in Portuguese. The were unable to get satisfactory samba lessons so the area remained in dispute with France until 1565, when the French were expelled, and Tomé de Souza (military and governor general)  founded the city of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro.  

            1611Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, John Pell, English mathematician who introduced the division sign (obelus, ÷) into England. The obelus was first used by Johann Rahnin 1659 in his fun-filled romp through the world of mathematics, Teutsche Algebra.  Pell worked on algebra and number theory. He gave a table of factors of all integers up to 100000 in 1668. Interestingly, “Pell's equation” y2 = ax2 + 1, where a is a non-square integer, was worked out by Joseph Louis Lagrange, not Pell.  Pell also published a number of works, for example Idea of Mathematics in1638 and the riveting two page A Refutation of Longomontanus's Pretended Quadrature of the Circle in 1644.

           1642 –Saturday  New York? Boston? Philadelphia? Charleston? No……the metropolis of Georgeana, Massachusetts (now known as York, Maine) became the first incorporated city in the United States on this day.  A city is incorporated as an administrative district established by state charter. When a city incorporates it is the same as when you incorporate your business. It becomes a fiction of law or a corporation.

             1692-Saturday- Wooo hooo witchy woman, see how
High she flies
Woo hoo witchy woman she got
The moon in her eye
She held me spellbound in the night
Dancing shadows and firelight
Crazy laughter in another
Room and she drove herself to madness
With a silver spoon
Woo hoo witchy woman see how high she flies
Woo hoo witchy woman she got the moon in her eye ……
..The Eagles………The Salem Witch Hunt began.  Before it was over, 19 innocent women were hanged.  Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba, an Indian slave from Barbados, were charged with the illegal practice of witchcraft. Later that day, Tituba, probably under coercion, confessed to the crime and encouraged  the Puritan authorities to seek out more Salem witches. The illnesses and bizarre behavior of some young girls was blamed on witchcraft. There were “fitts”—convulsions, contortions, and outbursts of gibberish.  This is fairly typical teenage girl behavior seen in malls everywhere.   Nowadays we would say they didn’t take their meds.  The trials that followed involved sensational testimony with witness trying to outdo each other with tales of witchery gone wild.  A thriving industry of books, movies and TV shows about the Salem trials would follow a few hundred years later.  Ironically, the name Salem was taken from the Hebrew word shalom, meaning peace

          1753 –Thursday-  Ending up with a February 30, and very confusing appointment books, for fifty years, Sweden introduced its own Swedish calendar, in an attempt to gradually merge into the Gregorian calendar. It then reverted to the Julian calendar (eleven days off the Gregorian) on this date in 1712, and finally went back to the Gregorian Calendar on this date in 1753.

            1781-Thursday-  The Continental Congress ratified the Articles of Confederation. The Articles, the first governing document for the United States had been passed by the 2nd Continental Congress on November 15, 1780. The Articles would later be replaced by the United States Constitution. They were written mostly by John Dickenson (who had refused to sign the Declaration of Independence) but were  weakened by the Congress (sound familiar?).  Among the weaknesses were:  Under the Articles there was only a unicameral legislature so that there was no separation of powers; the central government under the Articles was too weak since the majority of the power rested with the states; Congress, under the Articles, did not have the power to tax which meant that they could never put the country’s  finances in order (of course they now abuse the power to tax and they still can’t get the country’s finances in order);  in order to change or amend the Articles, unanimous approval of the states was required which essentially meant that changes to the Articles would be virtually impossible;  for any major laws to pass they had to be approved by 9 or the 13 states; under the Articles, Congress did not have the power to regulate commerce or  trade.

            1790-Monday- Congress authorized the first U.S. census under the responsibility of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. Nowadays the census is conducted by the Department  of Commerce.  The six questions asked by the census called for the name of the head of the family and the number of persons in each household of the following descriptions: Free White males of 16 years and upward (to assess the country’s industrial and military potential), free White males under 16 years, free White females, all other free persons (by sex and color), and slaves. The census, taken by U.S. marshals on horseback, counted 3.9 million inhabitants……or about as many people who are in front of you waiting to get into the public bathroom, or at a toll booth, or in the “express line” at a supermarket or claim to have seen the Loch Ness Monster just before tourist season.

            1803 –Tuesday-  Ohio entered the United States of America as the 17th state. It’s called the “buckeye state” because it has buckeyes.  A buckeye is a tree that is used today mostly as pulp. In the past it was used for furniture, crates, pallets, caskets, artificial human limbs. Ohio is also the birthplace of seven Presidents.  Can you name them? – William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, and Warren G. Harding.  Ohio was first explored for France by Sieur de la Salle in 1669,. The Ohio region then became British property after the French and Indian Wars. Ohio was acquired by the U.S. after the Revolutionary War in 1783. In 1788, the first permanent settlement was established at Marietta, capital of the Northwest Territory.  Ohio’s official things:  Animal White-tailed Deer, Beverage -Tomato Juice,

Bird –Cardinal, Flower Scarlet –Carnation,  Fruit – not surprisingly, considering the beverage, Tomato, Gem Stone -Ohio Flint, Invertebrate Fossil -Isotelus (Trilobite), although there was a movement to change the invertebrate to Dennis Kucinich,  Tree Ohio- Buckeye, and Ohio is  blessed with two songs; Rock Song -Hang on Sloopy and Song -Beautiful Ohio.

            1810 –Thursday--  Happy Birthday, we think, to Polish composer and pianist Frederic Chopin. Chopin always gave his date of birth as March 1 but according to his baptismal certificate, which was written several weeks after his birth, the date was February 22. In 1831 he arrived in Paris for a concert; he fell in love with the city, decided to make it his new home and never to returned to Warsaw.  Gee! Why would anyone rather stay in Paris than Warsaw? Interesting to note that on this same day that streptomycin, a cure for tuberculosis was announced in 1946, that Chopin died at age 39 of……..tuberculosis. Chopin is currently decomposing. His most famous works, on which his reputation is built, were his Nocturnes and Preludes, although perhaps his most famous individual work is known as the Minute Waltz, which of course lasted longer than a minute.

            1845 –Saturday- The eyes of texas are upon you
All the live long day
The eyes of Texas are upon you
And you can get away
Do not think you can escape them
From night till early in the morn
The eyes of Texas are upon you
Till Gabriel blows his horn
…..John Sinclair……With James K. Polk scheduled to be inaugurated on March 4, outgoing President, John Tyler signed a resolution annexing the Republic of Texas. Texas, having won its freedom from Mexico was at the time an independent country.  Great Britain was maneuvering to recognize the country.  Congress sent a message to the Texas government, with a copy of the joint resolutions of Congress in favor of annexation. These were considered by a convention in Texas, called for the purpose of forming a State constitution. That body approved the measure (July 4, 1845), and on that day Texas became one of the States of the Union. The Gnus highly recommends, A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent by Robert Merry

            1848-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, US sculptor and coin designer Augustus Saint-Gaudens (of the Gaudens of Eden), born in Dublin Ireland.  His first public commission was the  statue of Civil War hero David Farragut (“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”) in New York’s Madison Square Park. For Boston he produced his great relief monument to Col. Robert G. Shaw and his African American Civil War regiment (1884–97).

            1864-Tuesday-  Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first American black woman to be awarded a medical degree. Born in Delaware in 1831, and after starting as a nurse in 1852, in 1860, she was admitted to the New England Female Medical College and graduated on this day in 1864. Her A Book of Medicinal Discourses in Two Parts was published in 1883. In the book, based on her personal journals, she focused on instructions for women on how to provide medical care for themselves and their children. No photos or other images survive of Dr. Crumpler. The little we know about her comes from the introduction to her book, a remarkable mark of her achievements as a physician and medical writer in a time when very few African Americans were able to gain admittance to medical college, let alone publish.

            1867 -Nebraska, The Cornhusker State, entered the United States of America as the 37th state. Nebraska had been part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.  The state is actually named after the Platte River from the French meaning "broad river." The Omaha Indians called the river "ibôápka" also meaning "ibôápka" but it could be interpreted as "ibôápka".   In 1842, explorer John C. Frémont used the word Nebraska in referencing the Platte River and this was the name that was given to the territory when it was created in 1854 as part of the Kansas-Nebraska Act which created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and opened the area to settlement.  The Homestead Act of 1862 provided free land in the West to settlers if they would agree to stay for five years.  Upon statehood, Lancaster, Nebraska was renamed Lincoln and became the state capital. State symbols include: American Folk Dance (yes they have an official folk dance)  Square Dance, Beverage - Milk,Two songs -Ballad A Place Like Nebraska and  Beautiful Nebraska, Bird -Western Meadowlark ,Fish- Channel Catfish,  Flower- Goldenrod, Fossil- Mammoth, Gem stone -Blue Agate, Mammal -White-tailed Deer (just like Ohio),River -Platte River, Rock -Prairie Agate, and yes, a Soft Drink -Kool-Aid

            1872-Friday-  Yellowstone National Park, the world's first national park was established by an act of congress.  President Ulysses Grant signed it into existence. The 2.2 million acres of wilderness was "set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground (the phrase certainly takes on a whole new meaning nowadays)  for the benefit and enjoyment of the people." Nathaniel Langford, one of the most outspoken proponents of the national park idea, was appointed the first superintendent of the Park. Now it is overrun with cars and tourists, and the whine of snowmobiles. Cheer up, most of the park is the caldera of a volcano – that’s why they have “Old Faithful” and hot springs-and  last major eruption at Yellowstone, some 640,000 years ago, ejected 8,000 times the ash and lava of Mount St. Helens.  It’s due for another eruption……maybe during a snowmobile convention.

            1872 – Friday- Same day as Yellowstone Park was established…one of the great scientific feuds achieved another milestone of pettiness as bitter rival paleontologists Edward D.Cope and O.C. Marsh raced for recognition of their work on the fossilized remains of an animal with large wings from the dinosaur era.  On this day Cope read his paper to the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia in which he named the creature as Ornithochirus. However, in those days the printed word carried more weight and more distance than the spoken word and Marsh had beat him into print in the American Journal of Science a few days earlier, and the name he used, Pterodactylis, was  established. Bill Bryson in his brilliant A Short History of Nearly Everything has a great description of the feud.

            1873 –Saturday- The company of  E. Remington and Sons in Ilion, New York started production of the first practical typewriter. The concept of a typewriter dates back at least to 1714, when Englishman Henry Mill filed a patent for "an artificial machine or method for the impressing or transcribing of letters singly or progressively one after another." The first typewriter proven to have worked was built by the Italian Pellegrino Turri in 1808. The Remington typewriter was the successor to the first “real typewriter” the Sholes & Glidden typewriter which had introduced the QWERTY keyboard still in use today….even on the keyboard we’re using to write this.

            1880 –Monday-  Happy Birthday, Sir Isaac Shoenberg, Russian/British electronic engineer born in Pinsk, Belarus (note, Minsk is also in Belarus).  Shoenberg is known as the principal inventor of the first high-definition television system, (HDTV) which was used by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for the world's first public high-definition telecast from London in 1936.  The show, Survivor Contestants Beat Up American Idol Judges, was an immediate hit. During the 1970s and 1980s, the modern prototype for HDTV was being developed in Japan as a way to improve television quality and therefore sell more TVs. Contemporary high definition television is HDTV is a digital TV broadcasting format where the broadcast transmits widescreen pictures with more detail and quality than found in a standard analog television.  In 1932 Shoenberg’s team succeeded in making an electronic television picture-generating tube. The pictures were crude but Shoenberg continued with his research. The persistence paid off. In 1936 the BBC launched a public television service using the system Shoenberg had pioneered.

            1896 –Sunday-  Italy, which gave us Rome and some of the great generals in history, continued (and would continue –see WW II) it’s abysmal military record by actually losing a battle to Ethiopia (Ethiopia!).  At the Battle of Adowa, a decisive defeat of the Italians by the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II, an  Italian force of 10,000 was routed, losing 4500 dead and 300 prisoners. This would be par for the course in the 20th century Italy. In the resulting Treaty of Addis Ababa the Italians recognized the independence of Ethiopia and restricted themselves to the colony of Eritrea. The battle ensured Ethiopian survival as an independent kingdom in Africa.

            1896- Sunday- French physicist Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity when he developed the photographic plate he left in that desk drawer a few days earlier and found it had fogged with the image of the uranium compound crystals resting on it..........So that's why the pictures Prof. Sy Yentz took at the World's Largest Ball of Ear Wax somewhere in Iowa, were so blurry!.......  Recall that on February 26, Becquerel had stored a phosphorescent uranium compound in a closed desk drawer on top of a photographic plate awaiting a sunnier day to test his idea that sunlight would make the phosphorescent uranium emit rays. By accident, he created a new experiment. When he developed the photographic plate, he found a fogged image in the shape of the rocks.He had chosen to work with potassium uranyl sulfate, K2UO2(SO4)2, which he exposed to sunlight and placed on photographic plates wrapped in black paper. When developed, the plates revealed an image of the uranium crystals.         
These he stored waiting for a sunny day…..which turned out to be March 1.

           1912-Friday- Might as well jump. Jump !
Might as well jump.
Go ahead, jump. Jump !
Go ahead, jump.
……..Van Halen……..Capt Albert Berry performed the first parachute jump from an airplane. The Gnus finds this impressive if the plane was in flight at the time but not so impressive if the plane was on the ground. Previously, Andre Garnerin, of France had leapt from a balloon in 1797.  However, it is believed that the first recorded parachute jump took place in 852 A.D. when Arman Firman, a Muslim holy man, tried to fly in Cordoba, Spain. He jumped off of a tower wearing a huge cloak. He thought the cloak would billow out and allow him to float gently to the earth. Wrong! The cloak did nothing to slow him down and he crashed to the ground. Fortunately, there was enough air in the folds of the cloak to soften the landing slightly and he survived. Thus, this became the first recorded parachute attempt. While we are sure that Berry’s jump occurred over St. Louis, we have also found it listed as occurring on March 13.  We’ll go with the American Institute of Aeronautic which lists it as the 1st. The first known written account of a parachute concept is found in da Vinci's notebooks (cl495). The sketch he drew consisted of a cloth material pulled tightly over a rigid pyramidal structure. Although da Vinci never made the device, he is given credit for the concept of lowering man to the earth safely using a maximum drag decelerator.

               1921-Tuesday-. Magician, Harry Houdini patented a diver's suit. While diver’s suits had been around for a long time, - probably the first was Klingert's diving suit in1797 which  consisted of a jacket and trousers made of waterproof leather, a helmet with a porthole, and a metal front and was linked to a turret with an air reservoir. Houdini’s diver's suit" allowed divers, in case of danger, to quickly divest themselves of the suit while submerged and to safely escape and reach the surface of the water. It also allowed a diver to don his suit without assistance.  It accomplished this by being formed in two halves, with a locking joint in the middle.  The  diver could reach this joint and release it, and then escape from the suit.

            1922-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday William M. Gaines, American publisher of Mad magazine. “Humor in a jugular vein”. Mad, as it did with many young folks, entertained, and contributed immeasurably to Professor Sy Yentz sense (or attempts at) humor. From    - Bill Gaines knew that the man who would edit MAD had to have a brilliant sense of humor as well as a groundbreaking visual sense. He had to be a man who could see through the phoniness of popular culture. And he had to be a man who could take a little 10-cent comic book and transform it into the premiere satirical force of the 20th century. Unfortunately, that man was busy, so Gaines hired Harvey Kurtzman.  Also, in 1952... The second issue of MAD went on sale on December 9, 1952. On December 11, the first-ever letter complaining that MAD "just isn't as funny and original like it used to be" arrived.  Along with editor Al Feldstein and "the usual gang of idiots", publisher Gaines made MAD a touchstone of satire and humor for young people throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s

             1924 –Saturday- Happy Birthday, Donald “Deke” Slayton, American astronaut. Slayton was the only one of the seven original Mercury astronauts not to fly in space during the Mercury program.  He was originally scheduled to pilot the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission but was relieved of this assignment due to a heart condition discovered in August 1959. He did make his first space flight, however, as Apollo docking module pilot of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission, July 15-24, 1975—a joint space flight culminating in the first historical meeting in space between American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts.

             1932- Tuesday- Charles Lindbergh III, the 20 month old baby of aviators Charles and Anne Lindbergh was kidnapped from their home in New Jersey. The baby’s body was found on the grounds of the estate about a month later.  Bruno Hauptman, a German immigrant was later convicted of the crime and executed.

            1936 –Sunday- Hoover Dam (originally Boulder Dam, changed to Hoover Dam in 1930 and changed back to Boulder Dam during the FDR administration and then changed back to Hoover Dam during the Truman Administration……as far as we know the damn dam is still Hoover Dam….that is,  if you give a damn) was completed. In November, 1932, the Colorado River was diverted around the dam site. In June 1933, the first concrete was poured at the site. Hoover Dam required over 3,250,000 cubic yards of concrete plus another million for the power plant, intake towers and other support structures.

            1937 –Monday-  Permanent license plates made of aluollar. The plates boreminum were first issued in Connecticut.  Leon Serpollet of Paris, France had obtained the first license plate in 1889. In the United States, automobiles were first required to display license plates in the state of New York in 1901. Owners had to provide their names and addresses as well as a description of their vehicles. The fee was one d the owner's initials and were required to be over 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) high.

            1941 –Saturday-  The first commercially licensed FM radio station began operations as Nashville radio station W47NV started transmitting. The station was the first in the country to receive a license for FM radio transmission. All previous commercial stations transmitted via AM, which was more prone to static and interference. On the electronic spectrum, AM radio ranges from 535 to 1705 kHz (kilohertz, or thousands of cycles per-second of electromagnetic energy). The FM radio band goes from 88 to 108 MHz (megahertz, or millions of cycles per second). FM stations must be 200 kHz apart at these frequencies, which means that there's room for 200 FM stations on the FM band……and, seemingly,  most of them play either lite music or hip hop….But, unlike AM radio stations, FM stations don't end up being assigned frequencies with nice round numbers like 1010 WINS or 660 WFAN.  Thus, an FM station may be at 88.7 on the dial. W47NV started its FM broadcast with a commercial for Nashville's Standard Candy Company followed by Garth Brooks whistling and yodeling a salsa salute to Tito Puente.

            1954-Monday -Four members of an extremist terrorist  Puerto Rican nationalist group fired more than 30 shots at the floor of the House of Representatives from a visitors' gallery, injuring five U.S. representatives. Representatives were then debating an immigration bill. The party  breakdown of victims, as reported by the Washington Post, was three Democrats and two Republicans. The wounded lawmakers were Alvin M. Bentley (he took a bullet to the chest), Clifford Davis (shot in the leg), Ben F. Jensen (shot in the back), George H. Fallon and Kenneth A. Roberts. In 1979, fertummelt President Jimmy Carter freed the terrorists, after they had spent 25 years in prison. Their release coincided with Fidel Castro's release of several Americans CIA agents being held in Cuba on espionage charges. Carter's administration denied that there were any connections, saying it was making a humanitarian gesture. Yeah, sure, right.

            1957 –Friday- Bye bye, love.
Bye bye, happiness.
Hello, loneliness.
I think I'm a-gonna cry-y.
Bye bye, love.
Bye bye, sweet caress.
Hello, emptiness.
I feel like I could di-ie.
Bye bye, my love, goodby-ye…………
Boudleaux and Felice Bryant …….The Everly Brothers signed with Cadence Records (silver and maroon label). They had their first recording session on the same day.  Overseen by old family friend Chet Atkins, the first song that they recorded was Bye Bye Love. Bye Bye Love, had already been rejected by thirty other acts. The Everlys kept their high harmonies, but backed them with robust acoustic guitars and a rock 'n' roll beat that owed a lot  to the great  Bo Diddley.  Don and Phil Everly would become one of the biggest recording acts of the late 50’s early 60s  rock era.

            1961-Wednesday-  President John F. Kennedy issued an Executive Order, establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency within the Department of State.  The Peace Corp became THE  most popular government service agency of the 1960s. By the time of Kennedy’s death in November 1963, 7,000 volunteers were in the field, serving in 44 Third World countries. In 1966, Peace Corps enrollment peaked, with more than 15,000 volunteers in 52 countries.

           1966-Tuesday-  The Soviet unmanned spacecraft Venera 3, launched in November 1965, touched down on Venus.  This was how they discovered surface temperatures of 900 F as the spacecraft melted and became liquid Venera 3. The understated report was that the communications systems had failed before planetary data could be returned. Many, however suspect that the spacecraft was destroyed by a Venusian society of Amazons led by Queen Zsa Zsa Gabor as incontroverably proven in the documentary movie, Queen of Outer Space.

            1971 –Monday American terrorists exploded a bomb in the a men’s room of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., causing an estimated $300,000 in damage and forcing many Congressmen to “hold it” until they got home.  No one was injured. A collection of left wing loons calling itself the "Weather Underground", an offshoot of the collection of left wing loons and communist sympathizers calling themselves the Weathermen, who were an offshoot of Students for a Democratic Society (SDC), claimed credit for the bombing, which was done in protest of the ongoing U.S.-supported Laos invasion.

            1979 Thursday- The opening of Sweeney Todd on Broadway at the Uris Theater.  Stephen Sondheim’s musical starred Len Cariou as the “Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and Angela Lansbury. Directed by Harold Prince, the play won the Tony Award for Best Musical and Cariou and Lansbury won the Tonys for Best Actor and Actress. Sweeney Todd would run for 557 performances.

            1980-Saturday- Voyager 1 probe, launched in September 1977, confirmed the existence of  the Saturnian moon, Janus. The reason for the confusion was that Janus occupies essentially the same orbit as the moon Epimetheus, sort of like a sub-letting an apartment.  Astronomers, assumed that there was only one body in that orbit, and for a long time struggled to figure out what was going on. As these two satellites approach each other they exchange a little momentum, do a “dosey doe” and trade orbits; the inner satellite becomes the outer and the outer moves to the inner position. This exchange happens about once every four years. Now that they knew there was a Janus, credit for the discovery went to Audouin Dollfus  who found it in 1966 and named it after the two faced –looking forwards and backwards-god of gates and doorways.

            1985 –Friday-  The premiere of Lust in the Dust starring Tab Hunter (yes, that Tab Hunter), Divine, favorite bad guy, Henry Silva, and a fading (quickly) Caesar Romero. With the tagline (IMBd)  He Rode The West... The Girls Rode The Rest! Together They Ravaged The Land!”, a group of unscrupulous characters sought buried treasure in the old west. The movie scored a 38% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer. Critic Roger Ebert felt that Lust in the Dust would have worked better with Divine in the Tab Hunter role.

            1993 –Monday New York Yankee owner George M. Steinbrenner was reinstated after being banned for life on July 30, 1990 after collaborating with a gambler to dig up dirt on HIS OWN PLAYER, Dave Winfield  Commissioner Fay Vincent banned the fershtinkiner Steinbrenner from baseball forever. Word got out at that night’s game via radio-carrying fans at the Stadium that George was out. Fans gave the news a standing ovation and chanted “No more George.”. Three years later after the bombastic bully said he was sorry, Vincent gave him another chance.            

            2002 –Friday-  The Envisat environmental satellite, launched by the European Space Agency, reached an orbit 800 kilometers (500 miles) above the Earth  carrying the heaviest payload to date at 8500 kilograms (9.5 tons). Envisat, short for environmental satellite, had a unique combination of 10 different instruments which collected data about the Earth’s atmosphere, land, sea and ice – providing scientists with the most detailed picture yet of the state of the planet. Microbes falling to Earth from the satellite are believed to be the cause of the species Briefus Famous Stupiditus, in which the media creates fame (FifteenMinutus Warholus) for some wretched publicity seeking human being.

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2.        Read Across America Day. It’s always observed the week of Dr. Seuss's birthday.

           986  -Thursday-  Ah, the shrinking gene pool. The Carolingian dynasty that began with Charles Martel and his son Pepin III (the Short) and then his son Charlemagne (the Great), (aka Carolus Magnus—the source of the dynasty's name), sputtered to an end with  Louis V, also called Louis the Indolent or Louis the Sluggard. Louis was crowned the King of France on this date.  This exemplar of royal denseness ruled less than a year as he went kaput in May 987. There were nasty rumors that his mother Emma poisoned him.. His heir by blood was Charles, duke of Lower Lorraine, son of Louis IV, but Lorrain could not secure the support of the bishops and was undermined by  Adalberon (Ascelinus), bishop of Laon. This  assured the success of Hugh Capet. The Sluggard, also designated him by the words "qui nihil fecit", i.e. "le Fainéant" or "do-nothing  by medieval chroniclers was the last Carolingian monarch.  The next dynasty was the Capetians who ruled from 987 to 1328, named after the dynasty’s founder, Hugh Capet.

                        1127 –Wednesday- They showed you a statue, told you to prayThey built you a temple and locked you awa
Aw, but they never told you the price that you pay For things that you might have done.....Only the good die youngthats what i saidonly the good die young only the good die young
…..Billy Joel………… This was bad, the assassination of Charles the Good, Count of Flanders. You may wish to look at The Murder of Charles the Good by Galbert of Bruges. Galbert tells us Charles  was slewn in the church of Saint Donatian in Bruges in a plot devised by an embittered noble family. Don’t you just hate when those embittered nobles get carried away? Known for creating laws to protect and help the poor, Charles the Good's assassination sent ripples throughout Europe, affecting the balance of power between England, France, and the Holy Roman Empire. It also threw Flemish society into chaos as this prosperous region became engulfed in a brutal struggle for power.

                        1316 –Monday- Happy Birthday, Robert II, King of Scots, called "the Steward", a title that gave the name to the House of Stewart (later spelled "Stuart"). He was the son of Robert the Bruce’s daughter Marjorie (The Bruce’s son, David II had died childless) and her husband Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland.  When King James V  was on his deathbed  in 1542 after yet another Scottish battle defeat to England – Solway Moss-when his only living heir, a girl, was born in December of the same year. Before he died, he is reported to have said "it began with a lass and it will end with a lass". This was a reference to the Stuart dynasty, and how it had started through Marjorie, the daughter of Robert the Bruce. James was succeeded by his infant daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. The Stuarts would go on to become kings of England (James I) after the death of Elizabeth I.  They continued until the Glorious Revolution of 1688 when the conspicuously incompetent James II was ousted and William and Mary of the Netherlands imported by Parliament. Stuart “pretenders” continued to try for the throne until the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

            1459 –Wednesday-  A good day for Popes, three born on this day, Happy Birthday, Pope Adrian VI, (Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens) born in Utrecht in the Netherlands, the last non-Italian Pope until John Paul II.  Adrian VI, always addressed as “Yo, Adrian”,  lasted only a year, 1522-1523 and most of Adrian VI's official papers disappeared soon after his death. Pope number two for March 2 was: 

            1810 –Friday- Pope Leo XIII (Count Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci) who became the oldest Pope but then went kaput at age 93. He was elected to the Papacy in 1878.  Then Pope number three for March 2 was:

            1876-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli). Pius poped from 1939 – 1958 and came under and continued to come under serious criticism for his failure to speak out strongly and effectively against the Holocaust and the Nazis.

            1730 –Thursday-  On the “march” to more &  more discoveries about electricity, Stephen Gray (according to Erik Larson in Thunderstruck) clothed a boy in heavy garments until his body was thoroughly insulated.  He left the boy’s hands, feet, and head unclothed. Using non-conductive silk strings he hung the boy in the air, and then touched an electrified glass tube to his naked foot, “thus causing a spark to rocket from his nose”. We thought you’d get a charge out of this item.

                        1769-Thursday- I've got a mule, her name is Sal,
15 miles on the Erie Canal
She's a good old worker and a good old pal,
15 miles on the Erie Canal
We've hauled some barges in our day

filled with lumber, coal and hay
And we know every inch of the way from
Albany to Buffalo.

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge for we're coming to a town
And you'll always know your neighbor, you'll always know your pal
If you've ever navigated on the Erie Canal.
……Thomas Allen……Happy Birthday, DeWitt Clinton, Mayor of New York City 1803-1815  and then Governor of New York, 1817-1823 and again 1825-1828. Clinton was  the moving force behind the building of the Erie Canal, through upstate New York to connect the east with the Midwest.  He advocated removal of the political disabilities of Roman Catholics, abolition of slavery, and amelioration of severe punishment for debt and misdemeanors. Federalists and Republicans supported him as he narrowly lost the presidential election of 1812 to James Madison. 

                        1784 –Tuesday-  Jean Pierre François Blanchard was a pioneering French aeronaut who worked on designing heavier-than-air flying machines, including one based on a theory of rowing in the air currents with oars and a tiller…..really!  He was best known for his many pioneering balloon flights. He took up ballooning following the Montgolfier brothers' 1783 demonstrations of hot-air-balloon flying in Annonay, France. Blanchard made his first successful ascent in a balloon he built himself on this day in 1784.

             1793-Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Sam Houston, born in Virginia.  He was the only man to serve as congressman, senator, and governor of two states, Texas and Tennessee, and is credited with winning Texas's independence from Mexico.  After the Mexican victory at The Alamo in 1836, Houston led his troops to a decisive victory over the serial bungler, General Santa Ana at the Battle of San Jacinto. Houston became an instant hero and became president of the Republic of Texas. When Texas joined the United States in 1845, (see March 1 1845 above) Houston became a senator and served three terms, the last ending in 1859. The same year he was elected Texas governor. In 1861, as Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as president of the United States and the Civil War began, Texas seceded from the Union. Houston refused to pledge allegiance to the Confederate States of America and was de-governored.

            1807-Monday- Congress abolished the African slave trade. Signed into law by Thomas Jefferson on this day, the Bill "prohibits the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States...from any foreign kingdom, place, or country." Unfortunately, the Bill was not as good or effective as it sounds. The final vote in the House was 63 for, 49 against. In the bill itself, one can note that pragmatic concerns about implementation won out over the moralistic point of view. First, the bill contained provisions for the forfeiture of confiscated property, but such property would be under the jurisdiction of the district court, not the government if a slaving ship was seized. Provisions made for the "disposal" of confiscated slaves was not to "contravene" the laws of that specific state. This meant that if seized in Southern territory (which was the likely outcome), blacks would remain enslaved and be auctioned off nonetheless, completely contradicting the spirit of the act.

            1836 –Wednesday-  On Sam Houston’s birthday and just four days before the fall of the Alamo on March 6, Texas proclaimed its independence from Mexico.  Independence was secured with Sam Houston’s victory over Santa Anna ….and capture of the hapless general at the Battle of San Jacinto in April.  This is now Texas Independence Day, a state holiday.

            1855 –Friday-  Alexander II became Czar of Russia. Alexander was the eldest son of Czar Nicholas I. In politically, culturally and technologically backwards Russia, he implemented important reforms, notably the abolition of serfdom, as well as changes in national, military and municipal organization. He also rethought foreign policy: Russia now refrained from overseas expansion and concentrated on strengthening its borders. In 1867, he sold Alaska and the Aleutian Islands to the United States. On March 1, 1881, in St. Petersburg, he was assassinated by a bomb thrown by a lunatic student, a member of the meshuggenah revolutionary organization "The National Will.''

            1861 – Saturday. Two years before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in America…… “Serfs Up”. Czar Alexander II (see 1855 above) signed the emancipation reform into law, abolishing Russian serfdom. A serf was a peasant who did not enjoy the rights of a free person, but was not a slave. While the slave was an object of the law, theserf was still a subject of the law – a person…..but barely. It was a miserable life.

            1863-Monday- As the Civil War raged, Congress authorized a track width of 4-ft 8-1/2 in. as the standard for the Union Pacific Railroad. This width became the accepted gauge for most of the world.  U.S. track gauge based is on UK track gauge. While most U.S. railroads were designed by U.S. engineers, not British expatriates, a number of early lines were built to fit standard-gauge locomotives manufactured by English railroad pioneer George Stephenson. People kept getting “engauged” because it took a while to gage the effects of having different gauges for different railroads.

            1867 -Saturday-Jesse James was a lad that killed many a man,
He robbed the Danville train.
But that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard
Has laid poor Jesse in his grave……….Bascom Lamar Lunsford………Nineteen year old Jesse James and four others of the James gang  - but no Youngers- attempted to rob the Judge John McClain Banking House of Savannah, Missouri. They got no money but did manage to escape with a free toaster for opening an account. In case you’ve been counting, forty five Jesse James movies have been made. Among our favorites have been Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (television’s John Lupton – Broken Arrow- as Jesse) 1966 and Bulgarian Jesse James movie, Jesse James Meets Lokum Shekarov, also 1966.  Actors who have played Jesse James include: Jesse James Jr., Tyrone Power, Roy Rogers, Rod Cameron, George Reeves (television’s Superman), Clayton Moore, yes, the Lone Ranger himself, Dale Robertson, Audie Murphy, John Ireland, MacDonald Carey, Robert Wagner, Wendell Corey, Robert Duval, Christopher Lloyd, yes, that Christopher Lloyd of Back to the Future and Taxi, Rob Lowe, Colin Farrell and Brad Pitt.

1874 –Monday The “batter’s box” was instituted for baseball.  Unfortunately, when the batter was in a box, he couldn’t see the pitcher and the pitcher couldn’t see the batter, so they decided to throw away the wood and just draw a line instead. It was six feet long and centered to the middle of home plate. It was one foot from home plate and three feet wide over all and required to be marked with chalk. The batter was required to be within the lines of his position during the act of swinging the bat and if contact was made and the batsman was outside the lines of the box, a foul strike and out was called and the ball was considered dead. Three foul strikes during a batter’s time at bat put him out….unlike the 10-12 pitch “at bats” featuring a plethora of foul balls that we can see today.

1877-Friday-  Ending yet another sleazy chapter in the story of Electoral politics, Congress accepted an electoral commission's decision that Republican Rutherford B. Hayes had won the disputed presidential election of the previous November over New York Governor, Samuel Tilden.  Tilden had won the popular vote but presidential elections are based on the electoral college (number of votes per state based on members of congress which is based on population). 185 votes were required to win, Tilden was ahead 184 electoral votes to 165 for Hayes.  Four states were in dispute; Florida (see Florida, 2000), Louisiana, South Carolina, and Oregon.  The votes and hence the electoral votes for these states were decided by this Electoral Commission.  Congress had appointed the  15-member commission, evenly divided between the two parties, except for one justice, Joseph P. Bradley, a Republican considered (wink wink nudge nudge) nonpartisan.  Bradley voted with the Democrats. Surprise! Hayes got all 20 votes.  Do the math. Three days later, Hayes was inaugurated as the 19th U.S. president.

            1887-Wednesday-   Happy Birthday, Harry E. Soref, locksmith, inventor of the laminated steel padlock, and founder of Master Lock Company  in 1921. Plenty of locks but no bagels, not even a schmear… tsk, tsk. And what, you may  ask, is a laminated padlock – patented in 1924?  The plates punched  from sheet metal were stacked and assembled. Holes that were formed in the middle of the plates made room to accommodate the locking mechanism….the u-shaped top.  The entire stack of plates, loaded with the lock parts in it, was then riveted together. Take a look at your Master Lock and you’ll see the layers.

            1900- Happy Birthday, Kurt Weill, German-American composer born in Dessau. His most famous collaborations were with Bertold Brecht, with whom he worked on The Threepenny Opera – featuring the great song, Die Moritat von Mackie Messer, also known as Mack the Knife in 1928, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny  in 1929 and Happy End, 1929.

            1902Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Edward U. Condon, American physicist born in New Mexico. The eponymous, Franck–Condon principle (James Franck was a German-American Nobel winner in physics) was named for him.  We looked it up and there is no way to explain it unless you’re really really smart and know what is a rule in spectroscopy and quantum chemistry that explains the intensity of vibronic transitions is.  Condon also applied quantum mechanics to an understanding of the atom and its nucleus.

            1904 –Wednesday- Horton Hears a Who. 

                      And that’s what is new. 
                       There nothing that’s loose.
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss.
                        Now you’re in the Gnus.

                        Happy Birthday, Theodore Geisel, author of The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Green Eggs and Ham among other books in rhyme……except for Bartholomew and the Oobleck which doesn’t rhyme.  Maybe it was an off day.

            1917 –Friday- The grandson of Tsar Alexander II – crowned on this day 1855 (see 1855 above),  Nicholas II of Russia, who was a  few french fries short of a happy meal,  abdicated the throne in favor of his brother Michael II of Russia who refused to accept. In history’s long list of monarchs who made one stupid decision after another to end up losing their throne (and frequently their lives), Nicholas makes the Honor Roll. For example, he married the German princess, Alexandra of Hesse-Darmstadt. Alexandra, the grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, was a strong believer in the autocratic power of Tsardom and urged him to resist demands for political reform.   He lost the Russo Japanese War of 1905.  When a procession procession of workers, seeking to reduce the work day from eleven hours to eight,  reached the Winter Palace it was attacked by the police and the Cossacks. Over 100 workers were killed and some 300 wounded. The incident, known as Bloody Sunday precipitated the Revolution of 1905. In September 1915, Nicholas II assumed supreme command of the Russian Army fighting on the Eastern Front. This linked him to the country's military failures and during 1917 there was a strong decline support for the Tsar in Russia.

            1917 –Friday-  “Lucy! I’m home….” Happy Birthday, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz ye de Acha the Third, you know him as Desi Arnaz, Cuban bandleader, singer and actor. He married actress Lucille Ball and created the classic TV comedy, I Love Lucy in 1952. In addition to being the perfect straight man for a comic genius (also see George Burns and Gracie Allen), Arnaz was one of Hollywood's most perceptive producers in television's early years. His shrewd business skills and his realization of particular combinations of the television's technological and cultural connections enabled him to develop aspects of the medium that remain central to its economic and cultural force. After all these years, I Love Lucy holds up very well.  

            1925 –Monday- I was thinkin' 'bout a shortcut I could take
But it seems like I made a mistake
I was wrong, mmm, I took too long
I got caught in the rush hour
A fellow started to shower
You with love and affection
Now you won't look in my direction
On the expressway to your heart
………Soul Survivor………With  more and more cars being manufactured and sold, more and more drivers were getting lost on their way to ……wherever they were going.  The federal highway numbering system was implemented by a commission of state highway administrators.  They even added the shield shape (ignored by many urban drivers) to the signs. Today as we all know (don’t we?) signs have different colors and east/west highways have even numbers and north/souths have odd numbers……………….and we still get lost…..try figuring out the signs in New Jersey after you cross the George Washington Bridge.

            1933-Thursday- ”It was beauty that killed the beast” – King Kong had its world premiere in New York. “A Monster of Creation's Dawn Breaks Loose in Our World Today!” Starring mistress of the scream, Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot and King Kong, “Eighth Wonder of the World”, Co-producers and directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack created a template for larger than life monsters. AMC Filmsite tells us that Fay Wray mistakenly believed that her RKO film co-star, 'the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood,' would be Cary Grant rather than the beast. Later in her life, she titled her autobiography On the Other Hand in memory of her squirming in Kong's grip. Since then we have had, Son of Kong, King Kong Meets Godzilla, Konga, affirmative action, Queen Kong, King of Kong Island, King Kong Escapes, King Kong Lives, another King Kong, and yet another, this one a big budget, King Kong and we await, Jason Meets King Kong, Saw Kong, and King Kong Goes to Rehab. .

            1939 –Thursday For those who think Massachusetts is a weird state (not that there’s anything wrong with that…..being weird or thinking it’s weird), the Massachusetts legislature voted to ratify the Bill of Rights, 147 years after the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution had gone into effect.  Although the Massachusetts legislature had adopted most of the amendments in 1790, it failed to send official notice of its action to the national government.  The old “check is in the mail” or “the dog ate my official notice” excuse.

            1944-Thursday-  Over 500 people were suffocated when a train stopped in a tunnel near Salerno, Italy. The train sat idling in the tunnel for more than 30 minutes. The train’s locomotives were burning low-grade coal substitutes because high-grade coal was hard to obtain during WWII and the coal substitutes produced an excess of odorless and toxic carbon monoxide.  The colorless, odorless, tasteless gas killed everyone.         

            1944 –Thursday-  Same day as the train disaster in Italy, a disaster of another kind. Yes, the Academy Awards were televised for the first time.  No one really cared so they were broadcast on two local Los Angeles stations.  If the current ratings drop continues, they may end up the same way. At this gala affair, held at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, Jack Benny served as master of ceremonies and winners included Best Film Going My Way, whose male lead, Bing Crosby, won Best Actor. Ingrid Bergman won Best Actress for her performance in Gaslight. Who knew that decades later the awards ceremony would turn into tasteless buffet of “red carpet” opportunities for talentless actresses and actors, has been actors and actresses, wanna be celebrities and foo foo designers who have mastered the art of  making silly people look foolish.

            1944 –Thursday- Perhaps attendance was down at the Academy Awards because everyone was attending the premiere of Curse of the Cat People, the sequel to 1942’s much better, Cat People. In Cat People, Simone Simon played a woman who could change into a cat and tear people to shreds.  This time around, her husband has re-married (due to her kaputing in the original) but, shades of soap opera! She’s back as her own ghost to protect the daughter of her former husband.   It was directed by Robert Wise who went on to much better things  like West Side Story, The Sound of Music, The Sand Pebbles and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

            1947 –Sunday- Happy Birthday, Professor Sy Yentz, American, born in New York City, teacher, student, traveler, teacher of teachers, almanackist, historian, music aficionado, inveterate reader, pseudo dry red wine oenophile, dry wit who’s miraculous wife, Margaret puts up with it all.

            1949 –Wednesday- Turn on the light, let it shine on me,
turn on your love light, let it shine on me
Let it shine, shine, shine, let it shine
I got a little lonely in the middle of the night,
I need you darlin' to make things all right
A Little bit higher, just a little bit higher
…..Bobby Bland……The first automatic streetlight system in which the streetlights turned themselves on at dark was installed in New Milford, Connecticut, by the Connecticut Light and Power Company.  Each streetlight contained an electronic device that contained a photoelectric cell capable of measuring outside light. Up to that point a man (with really long arms) would have to go to each streetlight every night at dusk and physically turn them on and at sunrise turn them off. We note that in the chronological History of New Milford, this event is not mentioned. Possibly they were in the dark about the situation.

            1949 –Wednesday-  Same day as the automatic streetlight system, the B-50 Superfortress, the Lucky Lady II  landed at Fort Worth, Texas, after completing the first  round-the-world nonstop flight the covering 23,452-mis in 94 hrs. The plane was refueled several times in mid-flight. They had tried to land several times but were re-routed by air traffic controllers who were having difficulty with a new computer system forty eight times and ended up flying around the world. In flight entertainment included C-SPAN Congressional Minutes in Esperanto and Desperate Housewives Go to Avatar.

                1958-Sunday-  First surface crossing of the Antarctic continent was completed. The journey of approximately 2,500miles lasted 99 sun filled, fun-filled days. The British and New Zealand teams were members of a joint (British) Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic expedition but set off from opposite ends of the continent.  Vivian Fuchs and his team, accompanied by Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mt. Everest, (both teams used motorized vehicles) completed the first surface crossing. Highlights included the British Commonwealth Snowball Fight Championships, The All Blacks vs. Penquins Rugby Game, and finding out at the end of the trip that they forgot to turn the lights off back at the starting base and they had to go back.

            1959-Monday- An experimental push-button phone was tested by the Southern New England Telephone Company of New Haven, Conn., to see if customers would dial fewer wrong numbers using the new design. Guess it worked since push button took over although we still “dial” wrong numbers.  Old habits are hard to break.

           1962 –Friday-  7’ 2” center Wilt (“The Stilt’”, “Goliath”, or “The Big Dipper”) Chamberlain scored 100 points and set an NBA record that remains to this day as the Philadelphia Warriors (now Golden State Warriors)  beat the hapless New York Knickerbockers 169-147 in Hershey Pa. (of all places!)  Chamberlain broke NBA records for the most field goal attempts (63), most field goals made (36), most free throws made (28), most points in a half (59), most field goal attempts in a half (37), most field goals made in a half (22), and most field goal attempts in one quarter (21).  He also mopped the floors during time-outs, washed the towels at half-time, and sold 4,332 hot dogs at the concession stand.  Oh yes, he drove the team bus, flew the plane and inflated the basketballs. Iona College graduate, Richie Guerin led the Knicks with 39 points.

            1964 – A pale (no pun intended), soulless version of  Twist and Shout by the Beatles was released in the U.S. Attention Beatles, nothing could be better than the Eisley Brothers  in 1962.  You should have left it alone. The song was written by Bert Berns (under the pseudonym Bert Russell) along with Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers.

            1972-Thursday-  U.S. spacecraft Pioneer 10 was launched. It passed close by Jupiter and Neptune before leaving the solar system. It is now more than six billion miles from Earth.  For those of you keeping track, in the year 34,000, it will pass within three light years of the star Ross 246 heading generally for the red star Aldebaran, which forms the eye of the constellation Taurus (The Bull). Aldebaran is about 68 light-years away. It will take Pioneer 10 more than two million years to reach it. Just in case anyone finds it, the spacecraft has a diagram of a man and a woman and a map showing the location of the Sun and Earth in the Solar System…….make a left a Jupiter and it’s the second planet on you’re right…the blue and white one. Pioneer's last, very weak signal was received on Jan. 22, 2003.

            1978 –Thursday- Czech this out…. Vladimír Remek became the first non-Russian or non-American to go into space, when he was launched aboard Soyuz 28…..subject of the Beatles song, I Soyuz Standing There.  Soyuz docked with the Salyut 6 space station. Microbes brought back to Earth by Soyuz 28 eventually caused an outbreak of the Cable Television disease , Beatingus Subjectus to Deathicus Ad Nauseum.

            1998 Monday- Data sent from the Galileo spacecraft indicated that Jupiter's moon Europa has a liquid ocean under a thick crust of ice (sounds like a great dessert). Europa was a Phoenician princess abducted to Crete by Zeus, who had assumed the form of a white bull, and became, by him , the mother of Minos, King of Crete. Europa is one of the four (and second largest) Galilean Moons of Jupiter. The others are,  Io, Callisto,  and Ganymede. Europa’s surface is among the brightest in the solar system, a consequence of sunlight reflecting off a relatively young icy crust. Its face is also among the smoothest, lacking the heavily cratered appearance (obviously Botox at work here) characteristic of Callisto and Ganymede. Europa may be internally active, and its crust may have, or had in the past, liquid water which can harbor life. Famous immigrants from Europa include Vice President Joseph Biden, actor Joachim Phoenix, and singer, Prince.

            2004 –Tuesday-  NASA announced that the Mars Rover Opportunity had discovered evidence that water had existed on Mars in the past. Found in the Meridiana Planum region scientists concluded the rocks were once soaked in liquid water. Not only were the soaked, they were altered by liquid water.  Drinking the water can cause symptoms of the disease Shopping Carticus Parking Loticus in which victims leave their shopping carts anywhere in the parking lot that they feel like it.

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3.      1500- Saturday- Happy Birthday, Reginald Pole, English prelate who broke with King Henry VIII over Henry’s antipapal policies and serial marriages. Pole later became a cardinal and a powerful figure in the government of the Roman Catholic queen, Henry’s daughter,  Mary Tudor. His most famous works include his condemnation of Henry VIII and defense of the church, De unitate, 1536, his collaboration on the document concerning reform of the papacy, Consilium de emendanda ecclesiae, 1537 and his anti-Machiavellian treatise, Apologia ad Carolum Quintum,1539).  In 1549 he came up one vote short in the vote for Pope.

            1634 –Friday-  The Town of Boston issued the first license to operate a tavern to Samuel Cole. Cole then opened the first tavern in the North American colonies.  Many of the religious New England authorities disapproved of them, but, surprise!,  taverns begin to flourish during the 1630s as gathering places for socializing and, later, for political discussions and meetings.

             1709 –Sunday- A real "sweet guy", Happy Birthday to Andreas Marggraf, German chemist. In 1747 he published an account of his experiments attempting to obtain true sugar from indigenous plants.  He found that the most sugar was in the beetroot and secondly, the carrot.  In those plants sugar, just like that in sugarcane exists ready formed, and that it could be extracted by boiling the dried roots in alcohol. He used a microscope for these discoveries, one of  the device’s  first recorded usages in a chemical inquiry. Marggraf also isolated zinc from its minerals. He published his findings in the riveting page turner,  On The Method of Extracting Zinc From Its True Mineral, Calamine  in 1746. The metal was thought to be a complex blend of metals nearly until  Antoine Lavoisier's listing of zinc as an element.

            1751-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Pierre Provost, Swiss philosopher and physicist who first showed that all bodies radiate heat, no matter how hot or cold they are. This is a comforting thought to Professor Sy Yentz when he leaves his house on a -7˚ morning in January.

            1791 –Thursday- The best things in life are free
But you can keep 'em for the birds and bees;
Now give me money, (that's what I want) that's what I want,
(That's what I want) That's what I want (That's what I want) yeah,
That's what I want.
Your lovin' give me such a thrill,
But your lovin' don't pay my bills;
Money don't get everything it's true,
What it don't get I can't use…
…..Barrett Strong……….. The United States Mint was created by the U.S. Congress. The mint, a delicious dark chocolate was……no, no, no Professor Sy Yentz has his confectionary sense of humor. President George Washington did not act upon these recommendations until April of 1792.  The first gold coins authorized by the government were as follows:Gold Eagle Value $10.00 Gold Half Value $  5.00, Gold Quarter Eagle Value $  2.50     President Washington appointed scientist, David Rittenhouse, as the first director of the U.S. Mint. A mint building was built in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, located at Seventh and Sugar Alley (now Filbert Street).  It was a three story building and bore the now familiar sign painted on the building between the second and third floors, “Ye Old Mint”.

            1820 –Friday-   Continuing the slippery slide towards Civil War, The U.S. Congress passed the Missouri Compromise. Maine was to be admitted as a free state and Missouri as a slave state……sort of. Maine was made a state and Missouri was authorized to adopt a constitution having no restrictions on slavery. Not until the Missouri legislature pledged that nothing in its constitution would be interpreted to abridge the rights of citizens of the United States was the charter approved and Missouri admitted to the Union in Aug., 1821. Whig Party leader, Henry Clay, as speaker of the House, did much to secure passage of the compromise—so much, in fact, that he is generally regarded as its author, even though Senator Jesse B. Thomas of Illinois was far more responsible for the original  bill. The 36°30' proviso preventing slavery in the Louisiana Purchase north of   36°30'  lasted until 1854, when the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise.

            1821-Saturday-  The first U.S. patent issued to a Black-American was granted to Thomas Jennings for a "dry-scouring" cleaning process . While operating a tailor and cleaning shop in New York, Jennings experimented with different solutions and cleaning agents, testing them on various fabrics until he found the right combination to effectively treat and clean them. He called his method "dry-scouring" and it is the process that we now refer to as dry-cleaning. Jennings used his royalties to buy his family out of slavery. He became a free tradesman and continued his dry cleaning business in New York City. His income went mostly to his abolitionist activities. In 1831, Jennings became assistant secretary for the First Annual Convention of the People of Color in Philadelphia, PA

           1831-Thursday- Drivin' that train
High on cocaine
Casey Jones you better
watch your speed
….Grateful Dead……..Happy Birthday, George Pullman, American industrialist and inventor of the Pullman sleeping car for use on railroads. Prior to Pullman’s invention of the sleeping car, the cars had to stay awake all night.  Railroad journeys tended to be overnight affairs and sleeping cars had been used on American railroads since the 1830s, however, they were not very comfortable.   Pullman created train cars with elegant restaurants, accordioned connectors between cars to keep out wind and noise, (every time it went around a long, wide turn, the accordion would play Lady of Spain I Adore You) and comfortable sleeper compartments with clean sheets and pillows. He was also a master public relations man and promoter.  Pullman made sure that when President Abraham Lincoln died, a Pullman car returned his body to Illinois

            1841-Wednesday- Happy Birthday, John Murray, Scottish naturalist who coined the word oceanography. As a marine scientist, he took part in the Challenger Expedition, captained by George Nares, the first major oceanographic expedition of the world. He was the first to observe the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the existence of marine trenches. He died in 1914, killed by, of all things, a car.

            1845 –Monday- Florida became the 27th state of the United States of America. It had been discovered by Spaniard Juan Ponce de León in 1513 while he was looking for a beachfront condo in a gated community. He claimed the region for Spain but was unable to establish a colony due to Indian attacks.  In 1539, Hernando de Soto landed in the Tampa Bay.  He didn’t stay long as he explored central and northern Florida while massacring Indians on his way to the Mississippi River. Spain lost Florida to England, then got it back again but then lost it again as it made the mistake of allowing the British to use it as a Naval base (Pensacola) during the War of 1812.  It was attacked and captured by the Americans (who then forced out the indigenous Seminole during ensuing Seminole Wars). Florida became a territory in 1822 and was admitted as a slave state in 1827. Since then gonif businessmen and momzer politicians have tried to fill in the Okefenokee Swamp and other wetlands, destroyed the landscape, built hideous environmentally destructive developments and screwed up elections.  Seems like a great place to live. Florida actually has an official pie among its symbols: Pie - Key lime pie,  Animal - Florida Panther, Anthem Florida, the hauntingly beautiful, yet catchy and finger snapping,  Where the Sawgrass Meets the Road ,  Beverage - Orange Juice, Bird- Mockingbird,  Butterfly - Zebra Longwing,  Flower - Orange Blossom, Freshwater fish- Largemouth Bass, Gem –Moonstone, Marine -Mammal Manatee, and Reptile - American Alligator

            1845 –Monday-  On the same day that Florida was admitted to the union, the U.S. Congress passed legislation overriding a President’s veto. It was the first time Congress had done so. This was a “lovely parting gift” – as they say on TV quiz shows for President John Tyler, who would leave office the next day…succeeded by James K. Polk.  Tyler had vetoed a Congressional bill that would have denied him the power to appropriate federal funds to build revenue-cutter ships without Congress’ approval. With the two thirds required for override, Congress mandated that the executive branch get the legislature’s approval before commissioning any new military craft. In all, Tyler had used the presidential veto 10 times on a variety of legislation during his administration; the frequency of his use of the veto was second only to that of Andrew Jackson, who employed it 12 times during his tenure of eight years. Tyler was around for barely four thanks to the kapution of William Henry Harrison just after his inauguration in 1840.  Tyler, however then tried another veto, he called his cousin Vito who met with congressmen accompanied by his “associates” Guido and Anselmo and said” maybe yooz should reconsida ya cawse of akshun.”

            1845 –Monday-  On the same day as Florida was admitted to the Union, and John Tyler was vetoed,  Happy Birthday, Georg  Cantor, Russian-German mathematician who created modern set theory and extended it to give the concept of transfinite numbers, with cardinal and ordinal number classes, which is something that many of us lose sleep over. His early work was on Fourier series, but he is best known for his study of transfinite set theory. He began with the definition of infinite sets proposed by Dedekind in 1872: a set is infinite when it is similar to a proper part of itself. Sets with this property, such as the set of natural numbers are said to be 'denumerable' or 'countable'.  As with almost all of our mathematical items with elucidation, Professor Sy Yentz has absolutely no idea what any of that means but thanks, as with many citations, to  the Today in Science History website.

            1847-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Alexander Graham Bell American inventor born in EdinburghScotland.  In 1876, at the age of 29, Alexander Graham Bell invented his telephone, just barely beating out Elisha Gray for the patent, the credit, and ultimately millions of dollars.  In 1877, he formed the Bell Telephone Company.  His mother, who was deaf, was a musician and a painter of portraits. Bell remained interested in working with the deaf throughout his life.  He also continued his experiments in communication. He invented the photophone-transmission of sound on a beam of light, which was a precursor of fiber-optics. In all, Bell was granted 18 patents in his name, and 12 he shared with collaborators. He also participated in the founding of  the National Geographic Society in 1888

          1849 –Saturday-  Congress passed the Organic Act on March 3, 1849, to provide for the territorial government of Minnesota. The boundaries of the territory of Minnesota were Canada on the north, Wisconsin on the east, Iowa on the south, and the Missouri and White Earth rivers on the west. At least we think so.  It was so cold up there that no one wanted to go and find out for sure. When Wisconsin became a state in 1848, the lands between the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers were without an organized government….just like now.  The organic act provided for a governor, secretary, judicial system, legislative assembly, and a delegate to Congress. Legislators and the delegate to Congress were elected; all other officers were appointed. And what, you may ask, is an organic act?  It’s any Act of the United States Congress that establishes a territory of the United States or an agency to manage certain federal lands.

            1851 –Monday-  In case you think a dime is small, on this day the smallest of United States coins (diameter 14 mm) a three cent was authorized by Congress. It was created in part to pay for the cost of a……now don’t fall off your chair laughing….. stamp. Wait, it gets better, the Federal government was in the process of reducing the cost for mailing a letter from five cents to three cents. The coin was popular with the public….for a while.  But the silver-copper alloy had an unpleasant  predisposition to discolor and turn dark. The tiny  coin soon became known as "fish scales." The three-cent coin gradually fell out of favor and it was minted for the last time in 1873. Issues from 1854 through 1873 have an olive sprig over the III and a bundle of three arrows beneath. Nearly the entire production of non-proof coins from 1863 to 1872 was melted in 1873.

          1863-Tuesday-  President Abraham Lincoln approved a charter for the National Academy of Sciences.  Over the years, the National Academy of Sciences broadened its services to the government. During World War I it became apparent that the limited membership -- then numbering only about 150 -- could not keep up with the volume of requests for advice regarding military preparedness. Under Lincoln’s charter, the National Research Council was established in 1916, the National Academy of Engineering in 1964, and the Institute of Medicine in 1970.  The Academy was created to be an adviser on scientific and technological matters for the federal government. Florence Rena Sabin, elected in 1925, was the first woman member of the NAS., Dr. Sabin was noted for her discovery of the origin and processes of the lympatic system and for her work on tuberculosis. David Blackwell was the first African-American elected member of the NAS in 1965.

            1875 –Wednesday- Perhaps because the U.S Mint was authorized on this day in 1791, Congress just kept getting excited about coins .  Following the microscopic three cent coin of 1851, on this day President Ulysses Grant signed into law the twenty cent coin . It was the brainchild of Nevada Senator John Percival Jones  He claimed  the reason for this coinage was to provide merchants with a denomination of coin which would allow them to lower their prices and/or prevent  them from shortchanging their customers.  Of course being  a Senator from Nevada, where silver had been discovered and was a major product had nothing to do with his promotion of this silver coin.  Right? The coin proved to be confusing and very unpopular. It was kaput by 1878.

            1875 –Wednesday- The premiere of Georges Bizet’s Carmen, at the Opera Comique in Paris.  Carmen is an older tale, one that was first published in the form of a novella written by Prosper Mérimée in 1845.  The opera was not an immediate hit. Critics described it as “immoral” and “low.” While Bizet was awarded for the opera several times, he declared himself that it was a flop. Today, however, it has been played in almost every opera house in the world. You can even get a March of the Toreadors ringtone for your cell phone.

             1879 –Monday- I'm gonna take my vitamins!
(Vitamins! Vitamins!)
You better take your vitamins!
(They're good for you! They're good for you!)
I'm gonna take my vitamins!
(Vitamins! Vitamins!)
You better take your vitamins!
(They're good for you! They're good for you!)
….Supernova……….Happy Birthday, Elmer McCollum, American biochemist who originated the letter system of naming vitamins. He discovered vitamins A (fat soluble) and worked with others on vitamin D. McCollum gave the 'factors' letter names, because their structures had not yet been determined to give them proper chemical names. The letter system proved more effective than the discarded vitamin naming system of  “The one that gave me hives”,“ The one that made me constipated”, “the one that made my toenails grow really fast”, and “the one that caused my wife to grow a beard”.

            1885-Tuesday-   On Alexander Graham Bell’s birthday (see 1847 above) American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) was incorporated.  The company began in 1875, in an arrangement among  Alexander Graham Bell and the two men, Gardiner Hubbard and Thomas Sanders, who agreed to finance his work the year before he invented the telephone. In 1877, the three men formed the Bell Telephone Company. The first telephone exchange, operating under license from Bell Telephone, opened in New Haven, CT in 1878. In 1882, American Bell acquired a controlling interest in the Western Electric Company, (founded by Bell’s competitor and loser in the 1876 race to the patent office, Elisha Gray). The whole magilla was incorporated as AT&T on this date. Note as of this date their were no answering machines with annoying instructions nor contacts with ever helpful “technicians” named Ralph from New Delhi.

            1887- Thursday- That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball
………..The Who……..Anne Sullivan arrived at the Alabama home of Capt. and Mrs. Arthur H. Keller to become the teacher of Helen Keller, their blind and deaf 6-year-old daughter.  Sullivan had to begin her teaching with lessons in obedience, followed by teachings of the manual and Braille alphabets. Sullivan attended classes with Keller and tutored her through the Perkins Institute, The Cambridge School for Young Ladies and Radcliffe College.

            1906 – Saturday- The Voisin brothers, Gabriel and Charles, French airplane inventors and designers built a pusher biplane, powered by an Antoinette V-8 engine, that took off on wheels. Charles died in an automobile accident in 1912. Gabriel continued to manufacture aircraft until, following World War I, he turned to the production of luxury automobiles, citing as a reason his distress at the way aircraft had been used for violence during the war. He continued to make automobiles under the brand name,  Avions Voisin into the 1950s.

             1918 –Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Arthur Kornberg, American biochemist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 (shared with Severo Ochoa) for his discovery of "the mechanisms in the biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)" ---enzymes producing DNA. Kornberg produced a chemically exact (though genetically inert – sort of like television’s Katie Couric) replica of deoxyribonucleic acid in 1957 marked a significant step forward in understanding the material from which genes are made, (even though WE know they are made of denim) and which is the vehicle for the chemical transmission of all hereditary characteristics.

                1931-Tuesday-  The “Star Spangled Banner “ became the official national anthem of the United States as  President Herbert Hoover signed an act of Congress. Francis Scott Key had composed the lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner" after witnessing the overnight British bombardment of Fort McHenry, just outside Baltimore in Maryland during the War of 1812. Key, an American lawyer, watched the siege while under detainment on a British ship. Key's words were later set to the tune of To Anacreon in Heaven, a popular English song. Some rejected  finalists for national anthem were: Why Don’t We Do It In The Road, Purple People Eater, I Kissed a Girl, and Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

            1939 – Friday- The Tulsa, Oklahoma premiere (the official world premiere would be March 11) of ……The Oklahoma Kid. “Greater Than "Cimarron" - Packed with Thrills - Loaded with Action . . . As an Exciting page from American history is unfolded upon the screen !” Better than all that, it had James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart in a western.  The 39 year old Cagney was the Oklahoma Kid. Bogart was Whip McCord. A notorious gunman returns to his hometown, Tulsa, and discovers that his father was lynched after being accused of a murder he didn't commit. Natually, Bogart was the bad guy.

            1959 –Tuesday-  The premiere of Behemoth, the Sea Monster.  The movie is notable for the nuclear waste/fallout created monster attacking London instead of usual 1950s suspect, Tokyo.

            1966-Thursday-  There’s something happening here.  What is ain’t exactly clear….  Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay formed the seminal, highly influential group, Buffalo Springfield. And you can take that For What It’s Worth.

            1969- Monday- Apollo 9 was launched from Cape Kennedy on a mission to test the lunar module. Apollo 9 was the first manned flight of all Apollo lunar hardware in Earth orbit  including the  first manned flight of the lunar module in space. Lunar module pilot Russell L. Schweickart performed a 37 minute EVA. Human reactions to space and weightlessness were tested during the 152 orbits.  In July, 1969, Apollo 11 would land on the Moon. Space microbes returned to Earth with the space craft resulted in the creation of creatures known as Motoristicus Moronicus, people who try to read, shave, brush their teeth, or text while driving a car at 60 mph.  

           1978 –Friday-  Invasion of the body snatchers as the body of Charlie Chaplin, including coffin was stolen from Corsier-Sur-Vevey Cemetery, Corsier-Sur-Vevey, Switzerland. Elevne weeks later Swiss police  arrested two motor mechanics - a Pole aged 24 and a Bulgarian aged 38  who confessed to stealing the coffin and reburying it. They were traced after police kept a watch on 200 phone kiosks and tapped the Chaplins' phone after the family received ransom demands of £400,000 for return of the body after it went missing in March. Sir Charles' 51-year-old widow, Lady Oona Chaplin, refused to pay up saying: "Charlie would have thought it ridiculous."

            1980 –Monday-  The USS Nautilus, the first atomic powered submarine was decommissioned. In 1982, in recognition of the submarine's unique place in history, it was designated a National Historic Landmark. With this status in place, Nautilus, named for Captain Nemo’s submarine in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,  was converted to a museum ship and returned to Groton, Ct.. It is now part of the US Sub Force Museum. The Nautilus had been commissioned on September 30, 1954. 

            1985 –Sunday-  Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London unveiled their wax Michael Jackson. Wax was the perfect medium for the effigy as the nose could be shaved thinner, wigs added, and skin bleached through the years.

             2005-Thursday-  The first solo non-stop and fastest flight around the world without refueling ended as Steve Fossett landed at the Salina Municipal Airport, Kansas. He had left 67 hours earlier on Feb.28 2005, in The Global Flyer, a single-engine, single-use experimental jet plane.  At 8 a.m. on Sept. 3, 2007, Fossett took off alone from the Flying-M Ranch, near Yerington, Nev., in a Citabria Super Decathlon, a single-engine two-seater. He was scheduled to be back by noon but never returned.  His body was discovered in the mountains near Mammoth Lake, California, on October 2, 2008. A hiker had discovered Fossett's FAA ID, $1000 in weatherbeaten $100 bills, and a jacket believed to belong to Fossett the previous weekend.

            2009 –Tuesday-  The collapse of the Historical Archive of Cologne buried more than a millenium's worth of documents under tons of rubble.  Cologne's archives were one of the only collections in Germany to have survived World War II completely intact.  Officials believed the building's collapse may have been  related to the construction of a subway line beneath the same street where the archive is located along with shortcuts (i.e intentionally used fewer steel reinforcements at the site of the accident)  taken with the construction work

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304 or 304 – Wednesday or Friday- The lives of the saints are replete with a series of gruesome deaths. Sometimes it seemed like a prerequisite in the middle ages. On this date in either 303 or 304, St. Adrian of Nicomedia met a particularly horrendous dénouement  The story is that while presiding over the torture of a band of Christians he was so amazed at their courage that he publicly confessed his faith. He was imprisoned, and the next day his arms and legs were struck off on an anvil, and he was then beheaded, dying in his wife's, Saint Natalia of Nicomedia's, arms. He is patron of soldiers, arms dealers, butchers and communications phenomena, and is much revered in Flanders, Germany and the north of France.

            1275 –Monday-  Chinese astronomers observed a total eclipse of the sun.  Chinese astrologers could predict solar eclipses by analyzing the Moon's motion since 206 A.D.  The principle source of solar eclipse observations from the Sung, Kin, and Yuan dynasties (960-1368 AD) are the astrological treatises. Total eclipses are listed for the years 977, 1221, and 1275 AD. Annular, partial and unspecified eclipses are noted for 1022, 1054, 1135, 1214, 1292 and 1367 AD. In 1983 Bonnie Tyler would have a total eclipse of the heart:

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I'm only falling apart
There's nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart………..
Bonnie Tyler channeling Jim Steadman.

            1394-Tuesday- Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship
Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip
Ride captain ride upon your mystery ship
On your way to a world that others might have missed
….Blue Image…..Happy Birthday, Prince Henry the Navigator, the son of King João of Portugal. Henry was the driving force behind major exploration voyages. He didn’t do much actual navigating since he didn’t do much sailing but Henry sent sailing expeditions down Africa's west coast and they did the navigating. His goal was to find a route to the rich spice trade of the Indies and to explore the west coast of Africa. The ships that sailed the Mediterranean were too slow and too heavy to make these voyages. Under his direction, a new and lighter ship was developed, the caravel, which would allow sea captains to sail further and faster. Under his  patronage, Portuguese ships sailed to the Madeira Islands (Joao Goncalves Zarco, 1420), rounded Cape Bojador – just south of the Canary Islands- (Gil Eannes, 1434), sailed to Cape Blanc (Nuno Tristao, 1441), sailed around Cap Vert (1455), and went as far as the Gambia River (Cadamosto, 1456) and Cape Palmas (Gomes, 1459-1460).

            1461 –Monday- During  the Wars of the Roses in England, the muddled King Henry VI (Lancaster) who was half a bubble off  plumb– son of the great Henry V- was deposed by his Yorkist cousin, Edward, who then became King Edward IV. Henry had reigned since 1422 when he became King at the tender age of nine months old.  He would make a brief comeback to kingship  from October 31, 1470  until April 14, 1471. Never having more than a tenuous hold on reality (he was dominated by his wife, Margaret), Henry went over the edge in 1453. Richard, the Duke of York was made protector. Disputes between Queen Margaret and her supporters and those of York started the Wars of the Roses.  When Richard of York was killed, his son Edward became head of the house of Lancaster and eventually King Edward IV.

            1493 – Saturday-  “But you had three when you left!”  “Jeez!  They were here a minute ago.”……..Having departed in 1492 with the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria, explorer Christopher Columbus arrived back in Lisbon, Portugal with only the Niña left from his discovery voyage to America. The Niña and Pinta were caravals (See Prince Henry the Navigator 1394 above). The Santa Maria was a larger, round-hulled ship, called a nao (See It’s Nao or Never, Elvis Presley). On Christmas Day 1492, the Santa Maria ran aground and was completely destroyed.  The Pinta disappeared in a windstorm in February 1493.

            1678 –Friday-  Going for baroque……Happy Birthday, Antonio Vivaldi, Italian composer born in Venice. He is currently decomposing. He is famous for his oratorios, operas and solo concertos, most notably, Le quattro stagioni (The Four Seasons), op. 8 no. 1, RV 269 - E Major.

            1774 –Friday- The first sighting of Orion Nebula by British astronomer William Herschel using a self-built reflecting telescope of 6-foot focal length. Herschel would go on to discover the planet Uranus (be careful of the pronunciation, it’s “your a nus”, not your anus) in 1781.The Orion Nebula is the brightest star forming, and the brightest diffuse nebula in the sky, and also one of the brightest deepsky objects. You’ll find it just south of Orion’s Belt – three stars (Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka) in a row.        A nebula is A diffuse mass of interstellar dust or gas or both, visible as luminous patches or areas of darkness depending on the way the mass absorbs or reflects incident radiation.  Stars are born within the clouds of dust. In 1976, Barbra Streisand, Kris Kristofferson, and Gary Busey were born in a nebula.  In  1954, Judy Garland, James Mason, and Jack Carson were born in a nebula and in 1937 Janet Gaynor, Frederic March and Adolphe Menjou were born in a nebula.

             1791-Friday- Vermont, the 14th state, was admitted to the union.  In 1609, the same year that Henry Hudson discovered his river in what would be New York, Samuel de Champlain explored and claimed Vermont for France.  During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), France and Britain fought for control of North America.  At the end of the war Britain received all land east of the Mississippi River, including Vermont…..mainly because of the ski resorts……..In 1777, settlers of the New Hampshire Grants united to form their own state.  They named it Vermont, a French word for “green mountain.”  Vermont settled a border dispute with New York in 1790 by paying $30,000 and 100,000 tons of snow to New York.. Included in its state symbols, Vermon has both a state cold water fish – brook trout and a warm water fish – walleye pike. Its got a reptile – painted turtle and an amphibian -Northern Leopard Frog. Also – a state flavor (we don’t know of any other states that have a state flavor) – maple from the sugar maple tree.  Plus the usual suspects; animal -Morgan Horse ,beverage -Milk

bird -Hermit Thrush, butterfly -Monarch Butterfly, flower -Red Clover , fossil -White Whale,  fruit –Apple, gem -Grossular garnet,  insect –Honeybee,  mineral –Talc,  pie- Apple Pie,  multiple rocks -Granite, Marble, Slate  and the state  song is These Green Mountains.

            1792 –Sunday- But still they begin
Needles and pins
Because of all my pride
The tears I gotta hide
….The Searchers……co-written by Sonny Bono. Happy Birthday, Samuel Slocum, American inventor born in Poughkeepsie, New York and manufacturer of pins. In the 1835 he devised and patented a machine for making pins with solid heads. Here, Professor Sy Yentz refrains from remarks about “pin heads”. In 1841, his machine for sticking pins in paper – it is believed to be the first stapler, but we can’t pin it down- was patented.

            1837 –Saturday-  With the population reaching 4,170 the former Fort Dearborn, now, Chicago became incorporated as a city. The name "Chicago" is a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, meaning “wild onion”…..which may be why Cubs fans cry every year…… Fort Dearborn, a military fort erected on what became the site of downtown Chicago. It was established in 1804 on land ceded by the Indians on the Chicago River near Lake Michigan. The fort was a wooden stockade with log blockhouses. The fort was abandoned in 1837 and demolished in 1856.

            1854 –Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Sir Napier Shaw, English meteorologist. Shaw introduced the  millibar, a unit of measurement of air pressure, and the tephigram, a graphical representation of the first law of thermodynamics - The first law of thermodynamics basically states that a thermodynamic system can store or hold energy and that this internal energy is conserved -as applied to Earth's atmosphere. He wrote Manual of Meteorology in 1826.  A millibar is a bar where you drink millis.

            1859 –Friday-  Happy Birthday, Aleksandr Popov   physicist and electrical engineer who is proclaimed in Russia as the inventor of radio. It is said he built his first primitive radio receiver, a lightning detector in 1895, without knowledge of the contemporary work of the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. Marconi’s  first radio signal was sent and received in 1895. In 1899, the first wireless signal was sent across the English Channel. In 1902, the letter 'S' was telegraphed from England to Newfoundland. Meanwhile, in March 1896, Popov achieved transmission of radio waves (Z-102, a lite rock Latino format) across disparate campus buildings in St. Petersburg.

            1861-Monday-  Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th president of the United States. His attempts to be conciliatory towards the South failed and six weeks later, the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Civil War began.  Jefferson Davis had been inaugurated as the President of the Confederacy two weeks earlier. Chief Justice Roger Taney, of the infamous Dred Scott Decision,  administered the executive oath of office to Lincoln.  

            1865-Saturday- Same date, four years later Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated for his second term as President. His speech, one of his greatest speeches in a career filled with great speeches, “With malice toward none, with charity for all….” again showed a conciliatory policy towards the south.  In 1861 six weeks later war broke out. Now, six weeks later he would be assassinated.  John Wilkes Booth, David Herold, George Atzerodt, Lewis Paine, John Surratt and Edmund Spangler, the conspirators involved with his assassination were present in the crowd at the inauguration

            1877-Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Garrett A. Morgan, African-American inventor. Among his inventions were; the gas mask, the belt fastener, and the automatic traffic light.  On July 25, 1916, Morgan made national news for using his gas mask to rescue 32 men trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel 250 feet beneath Lake Erie.  The Morgan gas mask was later refined for use by U.S. Army during World War I.

            1877 – Sunday- The debut of Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The Bolshoi Theater had commissioned the ballet from the 35-year-old composer in 1875. The choreographer was Julius (Wentzel) Reisinger, an Austrian who was ballet master in Moscow from 1873-78. After initially deciding on the type and placement of dances, Tchaikovsky composed his music and Reisinger set about the choreography after the music was written. By many accounts Reisinger was baffled by the score and had the dancers compose their own variations. Little is written of Reisinger today except for the failure of his Swan Lake. A critic of the day wrote "Mr. Reisinger’s dances are weak in the extreme.... Incoherent waving of the legs that continued through the course of four hours - is this not torture? The corps de ballet stamp up and down in the same place, waving their arms like a windmill’s vanes - and the soloists jump about the stage in gymnastic steps."

            1881-Friday-  Happy Birthday, Richard Tolman, U.S. physical chemist and physicist, born in Massachusets. Tolman demonstrated that the electron is a charge-carrying particle in the flow of electricity in metals and also determined the electrons mass. Always one to come up with a catchy phrase, In 1912, he coined the concept of relativistic mass by writing that "the expression m0(1 - v2/c2)-1/2 is best suited for the mass of a moving body."

            1887 –Friday- Here in my car
I feel safest of all
I can lock all my doors
It's the only way to live
In cars
Here in my car
I can only receive
I can listen to you
It keeps me stable for days
In cars
………Gary Numan…………. Gottlieb Daimler unveiled his first automobile and then had test runs in Esslingen and Cannstatt, Germany.  It was the first four-wheeled vehicle to feature Daimler's gasoline-powered, water-cooled internal combustion engine, the prototype of the engine that continues to be the most widely used to this day. Unfortunately, he was unable to find a parking space and had to go home.

            1913 –Tuesday- Recalling that U.S Presidents used to be inaugurated on or about the fourth of March (now January 20), President Woodrow Wilson delivered his first inaugural address. And in

            1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President delivered the first of his four inauguration speeches. His next inauguration would be on January 20, 1937.  Other inaugural firsts:

            1797 - In the first ever peaceful transfer of power between elected leaders in modern times, John Adams was sworn in as President of the United States, succeeding George Washington.

            1837 -Martin Van Buren First President the first president who was not born a British subject. This was the first time the President-elect and President rode to the Capitol for the Inauguration together. The initial departure was delayed as Van Buren and Andrew Jackson argued over who called “shotgun” before they got in the wagon.

             1841 - William H. Harrison became the First President to arrive in Washington by railroad and well rested, delivered the longest Inaugural address (8,445 words). He then proceeded to contract pneumonia in the rainy weather and went kaput  a few weeks later.

            1853 - Party pooper Franklin Pierce Affirmed the oath of office rather than swear it; cancelled the Inaugural ball.

             1857 - James Buchanan’s was the First Inauguration known to have been photographed

            1897 - William McKinley’s was the first Inaugural ceremony recorded by a motion picture camera and McKinley was the first President to have a glass-enclosed reviewing stand. He could have used that in 1901 when he was assassinated in Buffalo, NY

            1921 - Warren G. Harding  was the first President to ride to and from his Inauguration in an automobile.

            1908 –Wednesday-  The Collinwood's Lake View Elementary School became the site of the country's worst school tragedy.  Shortly after 9:00 a.m., and while school was in session, overheated steam pipes ignited nearby wood joists.  The fire spread quickly, and roughly half of the students were unable to escape.  In the end, 172 children, 2 teachers and 1 rescuer perished in the fire. The community of Collinwood, Ohio has since been absorbed into Cleveland. 

            1929 –Monday-  With the inauguration of Herbert Hoover as President, Charles Curtis became the first native-American Vice President.  Curtis had served as a  Congressman from Kansas from 1892–1906, where he championed Native American rights to self-government with the Curtis Act  in 1898. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1907 to 1913 and from 1915 to 1929.

            1934-Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Jane Goodall, British scientist famous for her work involving the social and family life (including tool making) of chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in  Tanzania. In 1977, Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), which supports the Gombe research and is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats.  Today, the park is ravaged by logging, and home to only about 40 chimps, who live confined to a few protected square miles. Yes, her chosen vocation involved monkeying around with primates

            1944-Saturday- ……..You're messin' with murder incorporated
Now you check over your shoulder everywhere that you go
Walkin down the streets, there's eyes in every shadow
You better take a look around you (come on now)
That equipment you got's so outdated
You can't compete with murder incorporated
Everywhere you look now there's murder incorporated
…….Bruce Springsteen………… Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, head of Murder Incorporated was kaputed at Sing Sing Prison in New York State.  Lepke, subject of countless gangster movies, had been betrayed by his own men and a fatal error.  In 1935, associate, Dutch Schultz, another gangster movie favorite, wanted to “knock off” crusading District Attorney, Thomas E. Dewey.  Lepke was afraid of the backlash from such a murder and failed to give the order to kill Dewey.  Eventually, Dewey convicted Buchalter and Lepke was “kaputky”.  Lepke is the only major mob boss ever to have been executed by state or federal authorities for his crimes. Buchalter was involved in one of the great crime mysteries.  Murder Inc. hit man Abe Reles was arrested in 1939 for the murder of one Red Alpert. Reles cooperated with the legal authorities to receive immunity instead of the electric chair. For two weeks Reles, also known as "Kid Twist", gave detailed information about 85 murders including one committed by Lepke.  This led to Lepke’s conviction and execution. On November 12, 1941, while in the protection of six police officers, Reles mysteriously “fell” to his death from a window of the Half Moon Hotel in Coney Island, Brooklyn.  Reles was forever known as “the canary who could sing but could not fly”.  Dewey went on to be Governor of NY, lose to FDR in the 1944 presidential election and snatch defeat from victory with Harry Truman in the 1948 presidential election.

            1954 –Thursday-  Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, announced the first successful kidney transplant.  Drs. Joseph E. Murray, Hartwell Harrison, David Hume, and John Merril performed the transplant from Ronald Herrick into his identical twin Richard. Richard Herrick lived for another eight years. Murray became one of the co-winners of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with E.D. Thomas "for their discoveries concerning organ and cell transplantation in the treatment of human disease." Later they moved onto kidney bean transplants (at dinner), kidney stone transplants (spread the suffering) and kidney pie transplants (at dessert).

            1959-Wednesday-  “A little to the left….no, no…more to the right…now up just a bit and …… the U.S. Pioneer 4 spacecraft missed Moon (well, it flew by but at 58,983 km it was twice the planned altitude) but became the second (U.S. first) artificial planet (after Explorer) and the first to escape Earth’s gravitational pull.   

            1962-Sunday- Atomic power came to  Antarctica as the Atomic Energy Commission announced that the first atomic power plant in Antarctica, the PM-3A, Naval Nuclear Power Unit, was in operation at McMurdo Sound. In 1972, it was decommissioned and replaced with a diesel electricity generator after scientists found that it had created giant mutant penguins that sang and danced and could kill with their cuteness.

             1979-Sunday-  With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you
With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you
…..The Platters……A ring around the planet Jupiter was discovered by the Voyager 1 spacecraft launched in 1977.  This ring lies roughly 31,000 miles (50,000 km) above the top cloud layer of this planet and inside the orbit of the innermost moon. The outer edge of the ring is sharply defined, but it is only a few tens of kilometers thick. The dark particles that make up the ring may have been chipped off by meteorite impacts on two small moons that lie very close to the ring itself. Subsequently rings have been discovered around Uranus and Neptune also.

            1982 –Thursday-  NASA launched Intelsat V, major advancement in satellite communications. It had something to do with Ku and C bands but Professor Sy Yentz tends to glaze over at this stuff. Maybe it was “K U and the Sunshine Band”…, no, no actually, the ku band is used particularly for editing and broadcasting satellite television.  The first commercial television network to extensively utilize the Ku Band for most of its affiliate feeds was NBC, in 1983.  Somehow this may be responsible for the epidemic the dread disease, Enhancius Cheekius which causes excessive plastic surgery in those with too much dispensable income

            1985 -Monday The Food and Drug Administration approved a blood test for AIDS. It has since been used  for screening all blood donations in the United States.

             1991 Monday- The "Rotoblator," an artery cleaning tool, was announced by Dr. Maurice Buchbinder at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology. Rotoblator is a procedure similar to an angioplasty except instead of using a balloon, the catheter has a microscopic diamond crystal burr at the tip. The catheter is attached to a high speed motor that rotates the burr to grind the blockage away. It was hoped that the movie version, The Rotoblator, Revenge of the Cholesterol, would star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

            1994 –Friday- The launch of Discovery, STS-62, for a 13 day, 23 hours, 16 minutes, 41 seconds mission. Unbeknownst to the crew of John H. Casper , CommanderAndrew M. Allen , Pilot,Pierre J. Thuot , Mission Specialist 1, Charles D. Gemar, Mission Specialist  and Marsha S. Ivins , Mission Specialist 3, space microbes were brought back to Earth.  These microbes created a mutant gene that causes people to talk loudly on their cell phones while waiting to pay at the check out counter.

            2006 –Saturday Hello, hello, hello
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?
…….Pink Floyd………A final contact attempt with Pioneer 10 by the Deep Space Network was made.  No response was received. Sort of like when you call your cable TV company. Originally designed for a 21-month mission, Pioneer 10 lasted more than 30 years. It was launched from Cape Canaveral  on March 2, 1972. Pioneer's last, very weak signal was received on Jan. 22, 2003.  Pioneer 10 is heading in the direction of Aldebaran, about sixty five light years away,  located in Taurus.



1133 –Sunday- Happy Birthday, King Henry II of England, the first Plantagenet king and son of the Empress Matilda and Henry I.  Henry married Eleanor of Aquitaine, was the father of Kings Richard I, and John (the only King John so he doesn’t get a number).  He was also responsible for the death of his former friend Thomas Becket.  Henry was among the most effective of all England's monarchs. He came to the throne after the anarchy of King Stephen's reign (Civil War with forces of Matilda and barons running amuck) and promptly controlled the ever feuding barons. He refined Norman government and created a capable, self-standing bureaucracy. Of course he spoke no English.  Nor did his son, Richard I (Lion Heart).

            1324 –Sunday-  Happy Birthday, David II, King of Scotland, the son of the great King Robert the Bruce (brother of Lenny the Bruce) .  David ascended to the throne at age five. Continuing what would be a centuries long Scottish tradition his guardians lost a series of battles to King Edward III of England. The Scots cherished their victories through history, alas there were so few compared to the defeats. David fled to France.  Returning as an adult, he lost yet another battle, was captured and ransomed. He was unable to pay the ransom so he offered to turn his kingdom over to Edward. Needless to say, David was one of the lesser lights in Scottish history.

            1496 –Thursday-  King Henry VII “hired” Giovanni Caboto of Venice to explore. The petition for letters patent was presented to King Henry VII on this date by “John Cabotto, Citezen of Venice” and his three sons (PRO, P.S.O. 2, 146). The letters patent, under the same date, authorized Cabot, his sons, their heirs, and their deputies to sail with five ships “to all parts, countries and seas of the East, of the West, and of the North,” thus excluding them from the region of the Spanish discoveries in the Caribbean. They were however empowered to “discover and find whatsoever isles, countries, regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world they be, which before this time were unknown to all Christians”; if Cabot found new land in the zone to which he was restricted by the preceding clause, he was therefore permitted to follow its coast into the latitudes of discoveries by other nations. The patentees were to hold newly found lands under the king and received other privileges; no other subjects of the king might frequent lands discovered by the patentees without their license. In the summer of 1497, he crossed the Atlantic and discovered the mainland of North America—probably the Labrador coast. On this achievement was based the claim of England to North America.

            1512-Tuesday- Happy Birthday, Gerard Mercator, Flemish geographer and map maker.         His Mercator projection map developed in 1569 is the one that makes Greenland look like a continent. In his map, Mercator drew straight, equidistant longitude lines, perpendicular to latitude lines, forming a grid which could be used to accurately determine sea routes. He also did maps of Italy, Slavonia, Greece and Candia, Europe as a whole and a detailed map of EuroDisney with the “best rides” with “shortest lines” highlighted.  Mercator coined the word "atlas" to mean a group of maps.

            1558 –Wednesday- Smokin' in the boys' room
Smokin' in the boys' room
Now, teacher, don't you fill me up with your rules
But everybody knows that smokin' ain't allowed in school.
All right!
.........Brownsville Station……..In a cloud of noxious fumes, smoking tobacco was introduced in Europe by Francisco Fernandes.  Fernandes was, of all things, a doctor.  He had been sent to the New World by King Philip II to report on its products and brought back some plants, seeds and an MP3 player. Tobacco was reputed to have wonderful healing properties (probably Native American revenge for European diseases) and that caused the habit of smoking and snuff-taking to spread with great rapidity over almost the whole of Europe. Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal, who gave his name to the genus Nicotiana, helped spread the stuff to France via the court of Marie DeMedici. From Nicot, we of course get nicotine.         

            1574 –Sunday- Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away…
.Paul Simon….. Happy Birthday, William Oughtred, English mathematician who is best known for his invention the slide rule. He also invented many new symbols including X for multiplication and :: for proportion. In 1620, Edmund Gunter plotted a logarithmic scale along a single straight two foot long ruler. He added and subtracted lengths by using a pair of dividers, operations that were equivalent to multiplying and dividing. In 1630 Oughtred invented a circular slide rule. In 1632 he used two Gunter rulers so that he could do away with the dividers. The present form of the slide rule was designed in 1850 by a French army officer, Amedee Mannheim.

            1616-Thursday-  The  Copernican theory of the sun-centered Solar System was declared "false and erroneous" in a decree written by Cardinal Robert Bellarmine. It was a reaction to the publication of Paolo Antonio Foscarini's book, the intriguingly titled tract Lettera sopra l'Opinione de' Pittagorici, e del Copernico della Mobilità della Terra, e Stabilità del Sole, e del Nuove Pittagorica Systema del Mondo ("Letter concerning the Opinion of the Pythagoreans and Copernicus about the Mobility of the Earth and Stability of the Sun, and about the New Pythagorean System of the World"), defending the Copernican system from the charge that it clashed with the Scriptures. Bellarmine said that the theory was poopy.  He then said to Galileo, “bite me”, followed by “If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy “, Bellarmine then warned Galileo to cease promulgation of the theory.  When Galileo did not cease and violated the decree, he was put on trial and held under house arrest for the final eight years of his life. Bellarmine was canonized in 1930.

            1749-Monday- Every boy wants a girl
He can trust to the very end
Baby, that's you
Won't you wait but 'til then
When I see lips beggin' to be kissed (stop)
I can't stop (stop)
I can't stop myself
(Stop, stop)
Lightning is striking again
Lightning is striking again
……..Lou Christie……..Benjamin Franklin installed a lightning rod on his home in Philadelphia.  Even then he couldn't get cable T.V.  We presume he was not shocked by this. In addition to wanting to prove that lightning was electricity, Franklin began to think about protecting people, buildings, and other structures from lightning. This grew into his idea for the lightning rod. Franklin described an iron rod about 8 or 10 feet long that was sharpened to a point at the end. He wrote, "the electrical fire would, I think, be drawn out of a cloud silently, before it could come near enough to strike..." He finally perfected the lightening rod in 1752.  Surprisingly, he never wrote letters about his legendary kite experiment; someone else wrote the only account 15 years after it took place

            1770-Saturday-  The “Boston Massacre” (the original massacre had nothing to do with the Yankees and Red Sox) occurred as a mob of American colonists gathered at the Customs House in Boston to protest the occupation of their city by British troops.  The troops had been sent to Boston in 1768 to enforce unpopular taxation measures passed Parliament. American colonists had no representation at the Parliament hence the slogan, “no taxation without representation” .The colonists threw snowballs and other objects at the British regulars, and Private Hugh Montgomery was hit by a snowball. He reacted as any of us would when being hit by a snowball………… by  firing his rifle at the crowd!   The other soldiers began firing a moment later, and when the smoke cleared, five colonists were dead or dying - Crispus Attucks, Patrick Carr, Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, and James Caldwell.

            1821-Monday  Presidents used to be inaugurated on March 4.  Since March 4 was a Sunday this year, the “no inauguration on the Sabbath” rule went into effect and James Monroe (the fifth president –with John Adams being  the exception- four of the first five were from Virginia) was inaugurated on this day, March 5.  The Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution changed the presidential inauguration date from March 4 to January 20. The change was first instituted in 1937 for Franklin D. Roosevelt but the “no inauguration on the Sabbath” rule is still in effect.

            1830 –Friday- Happy Birthday, Sir C. Wyville Thomson, Scottish naturalist who was one of the first marine biologists to describe life in the ocean depths. Thomson was director of the scientific work of the Challenger expedition (1872-76) and wrote an account of the cruise, The Voyage of the Challenger (1877).  Earlier, he participated in three deep-sea dredging expeditions (1868-70) and obtained evidence that animal life abounded in depths previously believed to be azoic. Among the life forms discovered were non English speaking cabbies in New York, rude waiters, and Martha Stewart (see this day 2004).

            1830 –Friday- Happy Birthday, Étienne-Jules Marey, French physiologist and chronophotographer, and birthday twin of Wyville Thompson (see above) who while studying how blood moves in the body invented the sphygmograph. This device made a graphical record of the pulse and variations in blood pressure. He published, Le mouvement dans les fonctions de la vie.  While the sphygmograph went a long way towards standardizing the measuring of the pulse, it never replaced palpation—the measurement of the pulse by touch. Later, Marey immersed himself into the study of flight, first of insects and then birds. His aim was to understand how a wing interacted with the air to cause the animal to move.

            1868 –Thursday- The stapler was patented in Birmingham, England by C.H. Gould. The stapler seems to have had quite a few “fathers”.  Recall that Samuel Slocum invented a stapler-like machine in 1842 although it was just for sticking pins in paper, not fastening. Gould came the closest to the modern stapler with his wire “stitcher” for use in binding magazines. Gould's wire stitcher used uncut wire, which then cut and inserted the wire in the folds of the magazine as well as folding the wire ends over. However, if one starts researching the history of staplers….whew! can get stuck…..It starts with (oh, this is sooooooo Clintonesque) how you define a stapler.   If you define a stapler as a portable device or machine that inserts and clinches a wire staple in paper in a single operation – the American stapling site is  However, the first stapler in recorded history was the stapling machine or fastener of King Louis XV of France in the 1700s. Each staple had to be handmade and was inscribed with the insignia of the royal court. On July 24, 1866, George W. McGill was awarded U.S. Patent No. 56,587 for a small, bendable brass paper fastener, the precursor to the modern staple. On August 13, 1867, he received U.S. Patent No. 67,665 for a press to insert the fastener into paper. He showed his invention at the 1867 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, and continued to work on these and other various paper fasteners through the 1880s. On February 18, 1879, Patent No. 212,316 was given for the McGill Single-Stroke Staple Press. This device weighed over two and a half pounds and was able to load a single 1/2 inches wide wire staple at a time and drive it through several sheets of paper.  One thing is for certain. You will run out of staples in the middle of a project.

            1872 –Tuesday- Stop, in the name of love
Before you brake my heart
Think it o o over…
..The Supremes……..George Westinghouse patented the air brake.  Initially used as brake for railway trains, the invention went through several modifications through the years, but it was a revolutionary invention for railways as it allowed trains to travel at higher speeds more safely. It is now also used in big trucks, buses, amusement park rides and controlling flatulence.

            1876-Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Edouard Belin, inventor in 1907 of the phototelegraphic apparatus. This was a  system that was able to send photographs, via telephone and telegraphic networks. Today’s photo copiers work on the same principal. Belin’s first telephoto transmission was from Paris to Lyon to Bordeaux and back to Paris. The first transatlantic transmission was made in 1921 between Annapolis, Md., and Belin's laboratories at La Malmaison, France. Earlier in 1907, Arthur Korn,  a German inventor, used the light-sensitive element selenium to convert the different tones of a scanned image into a varying electric current.

            1893 -Sunday"Hey Culligan Man"....Happy Birthday, Emmett J. Culligan, inventor of the water-softening device. And what is water softening?  Hard water contains calcium and magnesium which can cause "scale" to form on the inside of pipes, water heaters, tea kettles and so on. The calcium and magnesium precipitate out of the water and stick to things. The scale doesn't conduct heat well and it also reduces the flow through pipes. Eventually, pipes can become completely clogged. Ew! With a water softener the calcium and magnesium ions in the water are replaced with sodium ions. Since sodium does not precipitate out in pipes or react badly with soap, both of the problems of hard water are eliminated.

            1904 Saturday-  It's like thunder and lightning,
the way you love me is frightening.
You better knock, knock on wood, baby.
………Eddie Floyd…..One hundred and fifty five years to the day after Benjamin Franklin’s installation of a lightening rod, Serbian/American inventor and physicist, Nikola Tesla, in Electrical World and Engineer, described the process of ball lightning formation, a rare phenomenon that resembles a glowing sphere of electricity.  Ball lightening is observed floating or moving through the atmosphere close to the ground in the shape of a glowing red ball that can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Typically associated with thunderstorms, these spheres are thought to consist of ionized gas.

            1915 –Friday-  Happy Birthday, Laurent Schwartz ( brother of Bermuda Schwartz), French mathematician who was awarded the Fields Medal (the Mathematics equivalent of the Nobel Prize) in 1950 for his work in functional analysis.  And what is functional analysis you may ask?  Functional analysis is the branch of mathematics, and specifically of analysis, concerned with the study of vector spaces and operators acting upon them.  That should clear things us nicely…..if you know what a vector space is, that is. According to Wolfram Mathworld, A vector space  is a set that is closed under finite vector addition and scalar multiplication. The basic example is -dimensional Euclidean space , where every element is represented by a list of  real numbers, scalars are real numbers, addition is componentwise, and scalar multiplication is multiplication on each term separately. So there.

            1934 –Monday Happy Birthday, Daniel Kahneman American psychologist who was awarded a share of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002 "for having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science, especially concerning human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty." No one disputed the prize because no one could understand the explanation.  However, Kahneman performed his research in order to increase understanding of how people make economic decisions. He drew on cognitive psychology in relation to the mental processes used in forming judgments and making choices. This obtuse explanation would from the same organization that in 2008 awarded President Barack Obama a Nobel Peace Prize for doing …….well…..he didn’t really do anything.

            1938 – Saturday- Mother in Law  Mother In Law
Mother in Law Mother In Law
The worst person I know
(Mother-in law, mother-in law)
(Mother-in law, mother-in law)
A she worries me, so
If she'd leave us alone
A we would have a happy home
Sent from down below
Mother in Law Mother in Law
…..Ernie K. Doe…………The first Mother-in-Law Day was celebrated in Amarillo, Texas. Within a few years, mothers-in-law by the thousands were gathering in Amarillo to celebrate their important contributions to the American history.  The idea came from newspaperman, Gene Howe.  Howe good-naturedly claimed March 5, 1938, as Mother-in-Law Day, in an effort to make up with his wife’s mother, whom he had angered in a column. His efforts helped attract First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to town to observe a large parade, which included one float that carried 650 mothers-in-law.

            1940 –Tuesday-  When mass murderers collide.  Following the invasion of Poland, shared with the Nazis in September, 1939, members of Soviet politburo – see Josef Stalin (this day, 1953)- signed an order for the execution of 25,700 Polish intelligentsia, including 14,700 Polish POWs, known to history as the Katyn massacre.

            1943 Friday-  The premiere of Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman.  This sequel to sequel to both the Ghost of Frankenstein and The Wolf Man, would be followed next by House Of Frankenstein. “A Death Fight . . . Between Two Beasts !” First, Lawrence Talbot, the Wolfman is resurrected.  Whoops! He’s still a wolfman so he goes in search of Dr. Frankenstein for help but Dr. Frankenstein is no more.  Complications arise and somehow Talbot finds Frankenstein’s monster frozen in ice.  Once thawed out and epic battle ensues.  The film is notable for Dracula himself, Bela Lugosi, playing Frankenstein’s monster.  Frankenstein would turn into quite the social butterfly with follow up movies; Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, Frankenstein Meets Dracula, and, of course  Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein.

            1946 –Tuesday-  Winston Churchill delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. The reference was to the Communist takeovers of eastern European nations, not a suggestion of what to do about wrinkly window treatments.

            1953-Thursday-  Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! …………
lyricist Sammy Cahn, composer Jule Styne….. Snow fell at the 8,500 ft. level on Hakeakala, Maui, Hawaii. Tourists discovered that there are no sweaters or parkas for sale anywhere in Hawaii and a request for one results in immediate deportation.

            1953 –Thursday-  Malevolent Communist Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, one of the most evil humans in history, went kaput at age 73 after 29 years in power,  responsible for millions of deaths. After coming to the fore under Lenin in the early 1920s, he gradually assumed control of the Communist Party and the country by subtly liquidating all rivals, real and imagined. In 1934 and 1938 he inaugurated a massive purge of the party, government, armed forces, and intelligentsia in which millions of so-called ‘enemies of the people’ were imprisoned, exiled, and executed. In 1939 he signed the Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler and attacked Poland. The pact with the Nazis lasted until the German invasion  of 1941,  and magically, the USSR became a member of the “Allies”  - he was now “Uncle Joe” since, he was fighting the Nazis. Stalin took part in the conferences of Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam which resulted in Soviet military and political control over the liberated countries of post-war Europe. From 1945 until his death he resumed his even more repressive measures at home, and conducted a foreign policy with the goal of global domination which initiated the Cold War (see Churchill 1946 above) between the Soviet Union and the West.

            1958 –Wednesday-  Explorer 2 kaput as the unmanned spacecraft launched, but failed to reach Earth orbit. That means it crashed. In the days before NASA, Explorer was the U.S Army’s space project.  Three of these attempts ended in failure. They were: Explorer II, RS-26, on 5 March 1958; Explorer V, RS-47, on 24 August 1958; and Explorer VI, RS-49, on 23 October 1958 The three successful ones were Explorer I Explorer III, RS~24, on 26 March 1958 and Explorer IV, RS-44, on 26 July 1958. Explorer IV RS-44 resulted in a rain of nano microbes that caused the annoying disease of Parasitisia Attorneyasisium, the epidemic of personal injury lawyer commercials.

            1963-Tuesday- The Hula-Hoop, which had been first marketed by Wham-O in 1958, was finally  patented by the company's co-founder, Arthur  Melin on this date. Why the six year delay?  Wham-O was unable to obtain a patent for their plastic hoop, since a hoop is a hoop no matter what it is made of. However, they were able to market their hoops under the brand name and later trademark of 'Hula Hoop’. You might also know Wham-O from their Frisbees. Melin and co-founder Richard Knerr were inspired to develop the Hula-Hoop after they saw a wooden hoop that Australian children twirled around their waists during gym class. Wham-O began producing a plastic version of the hoop, dubbed "Hula" after Hawaiian dance of the same name.  Hula Hoops, while never completely went away, made something of a comeback early in the 21st Century as fitness equipment.

             1963 –Tuesday- Country music singer Patsy Cline, her greatest hit was Crazy, died in a plane crash near Camden, Tenn., at age 30.  Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas and Cline’s manager, Randy Hughes were en route to Nashville, home of the Grand Ole Opry, from a benefit show in Kansas City when their plane went down during bad weather.

            1968 –Tuesday- Meanwhile, on the Explorer front (see 1958 above),  the  U.S. launched Solar Explorer B, aka Explorer 37 from Wallops Island, off the coast of Virginia,  to study the Sun by monitoring solar x-ray emissions. These same x-ray emissions would cause an irresistible urge in some women to get sun tans by lying on machines with UV lights (now called “tanning beds”) that would occasionally turn them orange.)

            1970 –Thursday-  Dubnium atoms were first detected conclusively. Dubnium, Atomic Number:  105, Atomic Weight:  268 is named for n amed for the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Dubna, Russia. Russia, which has at one time or another claimed every invention or discovery ever made, claimed to have found it in 1967.  On this day, in 1970, a group of scientists working at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, in Berkeley, California, bombarded atoms of californium-249 with ions of nitrogen-15, forming atoms of dubnium-260 and 4 free neutrons. Credit for the discovery of dubnium is still under debatium. Dubnium has a half-life of about 16 hours. It decays into lawrencium. And that’s itium.

            1973 –Monday- The strangest trade in baseball history. Two New York Yankee pitchers, Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich announced that they had traded wives.  The two loons and their equally loopy spouses, announced they had swapped wives, two children apiece and even family dogs, the Kekiches had a terrier, the Petersons a poodle. Peterson and the female Kekich stayed together but the male Kekich and female Peterson broke up. No word on the dogs.

            1982 –Friday- Actor/comedian John Belushi was found kaput of a drug overdose at age 33.  Belushi was injected with a "speedball," a potent mixture of heroin and cocaine. Early that afternoon the wasted comedian was dead in his hotel bed, and a Hollywood parasite named Cathy Smith later confessed to administering the fatal shot.

            1982 –Friday-  Venera 14,after a four month cruise to Venus landed on the planet at 13,25° S, 310° E (about 950 km southwest of  where Venera 13 had landed)  on a basaltic plain. The lander had cameras to take pictures of the ground and spring-loaded arms to measure the compressibility of the soil. The camera windows were covered by lens caps which popped off after descent. In a Laurel and Hardy moment, Venera 14, however, ended up measuring the compressibility of the lens cap (!!!) instead of the soil since the lens cap landed right where the probe was supposed to measure the soil.

The lander survived for 57 minutes (the planned design life was 32 minutes) in an environment with a temperature of 465 °C and a pressure of 94 Earth atmospheres (9.5 MPa). No word on the lens cap survival.

            1991-Tuesday- U.S. patent No. 5,000,000 was issued for a process turning garbage into fuel to microbiologist Lonnie. O. Ingram of the University of Florida. His method involved the creation of a new species of bacterium (also known as Chavezius Hugoius) genetically formed from two other bacteria.  And wherefore Patent No. 1? The United States Patent Office was established in 1790. The very first patent was issued July 31 of that year to one Samuel Hopkins. Hopkins patented a process for making potash and pearl ash, types of potassium compounds used to make soap and fertilizer and resulting in a pain in the ash. Nearly 10,000 United States patents were granted between July 31, 1790 and July 2, 1836. These patents were not numbered but were referenced only by name and date. So, who’s number 1? Patent  No. 1 was  issued on July 13th, 1836, to inventor John Ruggles of Thomaston, Maine for railroad traction wheels

            1998 –Thursday- In a cavern
Down by a canyon
Excavatin' for a mine
There lived a miner
From North Carolina

And ? his daughter
Chubby Clementine.
…………Bobby Darin……….. NASA announced that the Clementine probe orbiting the Moon had found enough water to support a human colony……In fact a colony was already there!  In the years since then immigrants from the Moon Colony have returned to Earth.  They are easy to identify by their uncontrollable urges towards self mutilation via tattoos and body piercings.

            2004 –Friday- Relentless self promoter, talentless and inexplicably popular TV doyenne, Martha Stewart was convicted for, conspiracy, making false statement and obstruction of justice. She had conveniently unloaded 3,298 shares of ImClone Systems stock just before the price plummeted. She would go on to make the list for the National Enquirer's "Worst Celebrity Beach Bodies of 2006".


6.       1340 Sunday - Happy Birthday-  John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster  and one of William Shakespeare’s favorite characters.  John, the son of Edward III, wasn’t gaunt but was born in Ghent, (what is now Belgium), he was Gaunt of Ghent. His brothers were Edward, the Black Prince, Lionel, the Duke of Clarence, Edmund, Duke of York and Thomas the Duke of Gloucester, as well as  Bo and Luke, the Dukes of Hazzard , and Gene Chandler, Duke of Earl. After the death of his elder brother, the Black Prince, John became increasingly powerful as the protector of his brother's young son, Richard II and effectively ruled England during Richard’s minority. Later in life he took Katherine Swynford as his mistress and then married her when he was fifty-six years old. They had four children who he had legitimized as Beaufort and these  would be the ancestors of the Tudors. His eldest son from his first wife, Blanche,  the Duke of Hereford became Henry IV when Richard II was de-throned. Henry IV was the first of the royal line of Lancaster. John is also remembered as the patron of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer (Canterbury Tales).

            1405 –Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Juan II, King of Castile from 1406 to 1454. He was the son of Henry III of Castile and his wife Katherine of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (see 1340 above).  He was also great-grandson of King Edward III of England through the maternal line. Like the majority of kings he was rather inept. Juan was first influenced by his “favorite” – nudge nudge wink wink - one Alvaro de Luna, until his second wife, Queen Isabella of Portugal outfavorited de Luna and became his primary influence.

            1475-Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, and poet. Michelangelo’s  paintings and sculptures changed the art forever. In a body of work that lasted over seventy years, he is probably most famous for his sculptures of the Pieta, now in St. Peter’s in Rome, and David , at the Accademia in Florence, as well as  his artwork on  the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and The Last Judgement  on the Alter Wall.  For a biography with particular attention to his work in Rome, The Gnus Editorial Board highly recommend Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King

            1521 –Sunday-  After months at sea, Ferdinand Magellan arrived at Guam, the largest island in the Marianas Archepelegos. On Oct. 21, 1520, his flotilla entered the Strait of Magellan. It proceeded cautiously, taking over a month to pass through the strait. During this time the master of the San Antonio deserted and sailed back to Spain, and so only three of the original five ships entered the Pacific on November 28. There followed a long, monotonous voyage northward through the Pacific, and it was only on March 6, 1521, that the fleet finally anchored at Guam. There they went scuba diving, dolphin,  watching, jet skiing, parasailing, visited Tatafoto Falls,  purchased handcrafts, curios, “I Heart Guam T shirts and visited the Micronesia Mall.

            1619-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday Cyrano de Bergerac, French soldier, satirist, and dramatist, whose life has been the basis of many romantic but unhistorical legends. Cyrano is more famous for what was written about him, notably, Edmond Rostand’s verse drama Cyrano de Bergerac in1897 from which almost everything else is derived, than his actual life.  The drama featured his conspicuous proboscis.  Also of note is his rather unheroic denouement – he was hit on the head by a falling plank as he was walking down a street.

            1806-Thursday-  "How do I love thee. Let me count the ways...." from the Sonnets from the Portuguese, Happy Birthday,  Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English poet. A self taught classical scholar, during her teenage years, instead of texting her friends, she read the principal Greek and Latin authors and Dante's Inferno — all in the original languages. She even learned enough Hebrew to read the Old Testament from beginning to end. In 1821, Elizabeth injured her spine as a result of a fall. When her brother died in 1838, she seemingly became a permanent invalid. She spent the majority of her time in her room writing poetry. In 1844, Robert Browning wrote to Elizabeth of his admiration for her poems. He continued to write to her and it turned into a wooing.  They became engaged in 1845. Elizabeth's father disapproved of the courtship and engagement. In 1846, Elizabeth and Robert eloped and ran off to Italy where Elizabeth's health improved. She continued to live in the villa of Casa Guidi for the remainder of her life.

            1812 –Friday As I was walking down the street one day
A man came up to me and asked me what
The time was that was on my watch, yeah...And I said
(I don't) Does anybody really know what time it is
(Care) Does anybody really care (about time)
If so I can't imagine why (Oh no, no)
We've all got time enough to cry
……Chicago…………… Happy Birthday, Aaron Lufkin Dennison, who, in 1850, and began to produce the first inexpensive factory-made watches with interchangeable parts to enhance quality and lower the price of watches. He is regarded as the father of American watch making. Yes, another “father of”… We’ve compiled a fairly comprehensive “fathers of list thanks to Economic  See  

            1834 –Thursday-   With its population, reaching 9,000, York, Upper Canada was incorporated as Toronto.   Toronto is a Huron Indian word meaning 'Meeting Place'. The first settlement in the entire Toronto area, was Teiaiagon, which was populated by the Seneca Indians and then later by the Mississauga Indians on the east bank of the Humber River and lately a lousy hockey team.

1836-Sunday-  Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, Colonel William Travis, John Wayne, Fess Parker, Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, Richard Widmark, James Arness, Brian Keith, Laurence Harvey and 186 other Americans were killed as the 13 day siege of the Alamo ended when it was overrun by General Santa Ana's Mexican Army troops. Santa Anna's army arrived in San Antonio on February 23  1836. Some 145 Texans in the area took refuge in the fortified grounds of an old mission known as the Alamo, under the joint command of William B. Travis (for the regular army) and Jim Bowie (for the volunteers).  Over the following two weeks, the Mexican forces continually strengthened to over 2000 troops. With odds of over 2000 vs. 189, this was a battle that even the consistently inept Santa Anna could win.  During the same period, a few reinforcements for the Texans answered Travis' famous “Appeal for Aid” and managed to penetrate enemy lines and enter the Alamo grounds, bringing the total strength of the defenders to about 189 men. After periodic bombardment, the siege ended on this morning when the Mexicans stormed the fortress. All of the Texan defenders were killed. Contrary to movie lore, there were some survivors as several non-combatants were spared, including Susanna Dickenson, the wife of one of the defenders, Susanna's baby, and a servant of Travis.

            1853 –Sunday- Libiamo, libiamo ne'lieti calici
che la belleza infiora.
E la fuggevol ora s'inebrii
a volutt
Libiamo ne'dolci fremiti
che suscita l'amore,
poich quell'ochio al core
Omnipotente va.
Libiamo, amore fra i calici
pi caldi baci avr.
Ah, libiamo;
amor fra i calici
Pi caldi baci avr
................Composer Giuseppe Verdi's opera La Traviata,based on Alexandre Dumas's play,  La Dame aux Camélias, premiered at Teatro la Fenice, Venice, Italy.

                         1857 –Friday-  In the Dred Scott decision, the United States Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice, Roger Taney, issued a ruling in which the court affirmed the right of slave owners to take their slaves into the western territories. This negated the doctrine of popular sovereignty and severely undermined the platform of the newly created Republican Party. Dred Scott was a slave whose owner, an army doctor, had spent time in Illinois, a free state, and Wisconsin, a free territory at the time of Scott's residence. When the Army ordered his master to go back to Missouri, he took Scott with him back to that slave state, where his master proceeded to go  kaput. In 1846, Scott was helped by Abolitionist (anti-slavery) lawyers to sue for his freedom in court, claiming he should be free since he had lived on free soil for a long time. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Unfortunately, for Scott, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Taney, was a former slave owner from Maryland.  The court decision rolled back the Compromise of 1850 and declared slaves to be property.  Civil War followed within 4 years.

1869 –Saturday- There's antimony, arsenic, aluminum, selenium,
And hydrogen and oxygen and nitrogen and rhenium,
And nickel, neodymium, neptunium, germanium,
And iron, americium, ruthenium, uranium,
Europium, zirconium, lutetium, vanadium,
And lanthanum and osmium and astatine and radium,
And gold and protactinium and indium and gallium,
And iodine and thorium and thulium and thallium.
There's yttrium, ytterbium, actinium, rubidium,
And boron, gadolinium, niobium, iridium,
And strontium and silicon and silver and samarium,
And bismuth, bromine, lithium, beryllium, and barium.
Isn't that interesting?
……Tom Lehrer……..Russian chemist, Dmitry Mendeleev published his first version of the periodic table of the elements.  His original notes read; “there are a lot of them and they have long names that get confusing and lots of them really smell bad and some of them explode”.  Of course being Russian, he would have said “Есть много и они имеют длинные имена, что получить в заблуждение и множество из них очень плохой запах, а некоторые из них взорвались”. When Mendeleev became a professor of general chemistry at the University of St. Petersburg, he was unable to find an appropriate textbook and thus began writing his own. That textbook, written between 1868 and 1870, would provide a framework for modern chemical and physical theory. In his book, The Principles of Chemistry, Mendeleev created a table or chart that listed the known elements according to increasing order of atomic weights.  

1879 –Thursday- Happy Birthday, Benton MacKaye, American forester, planner, and conservationist. He was a co-founder of The Wilderness Society, but is best known as the originator of the Appalachian Trail, an idea he presented in his 1921 article, An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning. The Appalachian Trail is a continuous marked footpath that goes from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia, a distance of about 2160 miles. The Editorial Board of the Gnus highly recommends, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods  to get you acquainted with the trail.

            1896- Friday- Ten years after Carl Benz patented the first gasoline automobile in          Germany, and three years after the Duryea Brothers’ first vehicle, Charles B.         King tested his automobile on the streets of Detroit, Michigan thus becoming the    first man to drive a car in what would become the center of automobile manufacturing and also become known as the “Motor City”.  Ironically, King     was followed by Henry Ford, who was riding a bicycle.             uctees King’s vehicle was immediately carjacked by several local “youth”.

1899-Monday "Aspirin" was patented by German chemist, Felix Hoffmann. He had successfully developed the chemically pure and stable form of acetylsalicylic acid in 1897 to help treat his father’s rheumatoid arthritis. In 400 BC Greek physician Hippocrates had prescribed the bark and leaves of the willow tree (rich in a substance called salicin) to relieve pain and fever. Many people broke their teeth before Hippocrates reminded them to “mush the bark up first”. During the 1830’s scientists had  discovered and worked with salicin and found, as Hippocrates had found,  it gave one temporary relief from pain.  The problem was that salicylic acid was tough on stomachs (there was no Tums in those days) resulting in a pain in the aspirin, and a means of 'buffering' the compound was searched for. The first person to find it was a French chemist named Charles Frederic Gerhardt. In 1853, Gerhardt neutralized salicylic acid by buffering it with sodium (sodium salicylate) and acetyl chloride, creating acetylsalicylic acid. Gerhardt's product worked but he had no desire to market it and abandoned his discovery. There it sat until Hoffman, working for the Bayer Company, picked up on the research.

               1906-Tuesday- Costello: Well then who's on first?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: I mean the fellow's name.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy on first.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The first baseman.

Abbott: Who. C

ostello: The guy playing...

Abbott: Who is on first!

Costello: I'm asking YOU who's on first.

Abbott: That's the man's name.

Costello: That's who's name?

Abbott: Yes. Happy Birthday, Lou Costello, American comedian and the heavier half of the team of Abbott and Costello. Famous for vaudeville routines, radio, movies  such as Buck Privates, Pardon My Sarong, the excellent The Time of Their Lives, and the monster series with the best being Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.   After their movies had devolved to Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd, with Charles Laughton as Captain Kid, and Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, they turned to television (while still churning out potential Academy Award cinema efforts such as Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops) for the Abbott and Costello television show which ran for fifty three episodes.

1915 –Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Pete Gray, American baseball player. Pete Gray was unique in the history of baseball.  He had only one arm.  Playing with only his left arm, he came to national attention in 1944 when he batted .333 for minor league, Memphis. He  hit five home runs and  tied a league record by stealing 68 bases while being named the Southern Association's MVP. Major League Baseball had a shortage of able players due to World War II. Gray earned a spot with the 1945 St. Louis Browns. We’d like to tell you how well he did but Gray was overmatched. In seventy seven games he hit .218 and failed to hit a home run.  When baseball returned to full strength in 1946, the Browns sent Gray down to the minor leagues. Yes, it was a Farewell to Arm.

1927-Sunday-  Lots of astronaut birthdays this month. Happy Birthday, Gordon Cooper, one of the original 7 American astronauts. Can you name the other six? Hint: they are not Dopey, Sneezy, Doc, Bashful…………… On May 15-16, 1963, he piloted the Faith 7 spacecraft on a 22-orbit mission which concluded the operational phase of Project Mercury. During the 34 hours and 20 minutes of flight, Faith 7 Cooper became the first American to sleep in orbit after being forced to watch Meet the Press. Cooper also served as command pilot of the 8-day 120-revolution Gemini 5 mission which began on August 21, 1965.

1930 –Thursday-  The first individually packaged frozen foods were put on sale by General Foods - Birds Eye Frosted Foods - in Springfield, Massachusetts.  In this test market, the veggies, chicken, and beef proved successful.  The frozen musk ox, rattlesnake, pancreas de platypus and prairie dog brains, considerably less so.

1937 –Saturday- Happy Birthday, Valentina Tereschova, Soviet cosmonaut who was the first woman to fly in space, and remains the only woman to fly in space solo. That meant she didn’t have to worry about some guy leaving the toilet seat up.  She was launched in  Vostok 6 on  June 16,  1963, two days after Valery F. Bykovsky in Vostok 5. Tereshkova made 48 orbits of Earth in 71 hours. The two cosmonauts both landed on June 19.  Tereshkova left the program shortly after her return. The flight was 20 years before that of the first American woman into space, Sally Ride

            1947-Thursday- The first air conditioned naval ship, the USS  Newport           News was launched from the shipbuilding yard at (surprise!) Newport News,             VA.  It was a Des Moines class heavy cruiser (one class lighter than a   battleship) and would eventually be scrapped  in 1992.  The American Navy     likes to recycle names so there were three Newport Newses in all. The first      Newport News (AK-3) was a German cargo ship named Odenwald, taken over        by the U.S. Navy during World War I and renamed. The second was this one   and the third Newport News (SSN-750), a ''Los Angeles''-class submarine, is             still in service

            1947 –Thursday- Happy Birthday,  Dick Fosbury, American high jumper.  Prior to Fosbury, high jumpers would approach the bar and throw their leg over and roll with the body to follow.  Fosbury created the “Fosbury Flop” in which he ran to bar at speed and heaved himself over leading with his head then shoulders with both legs following.  All contemporary  high jumpers use variations of the “Fosbury Flop”.

            1950-Monday- Silly Putty was introduced as a toy by Peter Hodgson.  Hodgson, unemployed at the time, packaged one-ounce portions of the rubber-like material in plastic eggs. It could be stretched, rolled into a bouncing ball, or used to transfer colored ink from newsprint. Silly Putty was discovered in 1943 by scientist James Wright, who was working on a synthetic rubber substitute – there was a shortage of rubber - for General Electric during World War II. While the mixture of silicone oil and boric acid was a dud as a rubber substitute, the substance did have some unique properties. Wright found that it could be molded, stretched and bounced. Perhaps if the idea had caught on in 1943, they would have sold tires in giant plastic eggs. Hodgson attended a party at which "nutty putty" (as it was called) was the main entertainment. Seeing its marketing potential as a children's toy, Hodgson borrowed $147, bought the production rights from GE, and began producing the goo. He renamed it Silly Putty®, and packaged it in plastic eggs because Easter was on the way. The march of progress - Binney & Smith, the manufacturer of Silly Putty, makes between 17,000 and 20,000 "eggs" a day at its plant in Pennsylvania. That translates into about 425 to 500 pounds of Silly Putty each day……and you were worried about the ozone melting……we’ll be buried under silly putty within a hundred years! According to Wayne Schmidt’s Silly Putty Page, Silly Putty has a density of 1.17, slightly heavier than water.  Silly Putty has a shelf life of 24 months.  After two years it morphs into beings who appear on a show called Bridezillas.

1959 –Friday- Bo-bo, doo-doot-doo-doo-doo-doo)
(There she goes) (doo-doot-doo-doo-doo-doo)
(There she goes) (doo-doot-doo-doo-doo-doo)
(Bo-bo) (doo-doot-doo-doo)
(Bo-bo) (doo-doo-doo-doo)
There goes my baby, movin' on down the line
Wonder where, wonder where, wonder where she is bound?
I broke her heart and made her cry
Now I'm alone, so all alone
What can I do, what can I do?
(There goes my baby) Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh
(There goes my baby) Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
(There goes my baby) Whoa-oh-oh-oh
(There she goes) Yeah! (There she goes) ……………
The Drifters recorded There Goes My Baby.  Written by lead singer Ben E. King, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller.  By the time There Goes My Baby"was finished, the song's tempo slowed to a ballad, and Ben E. King took over as lead vocal after Charlie Thomas went through a few takes. In a fit of inspiration, producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller mixed in a string section and tympani to the song, something seldom attempted in an R&B record.  The single was released with Save the Last Dance for Me on the B-side. There Goes My Baby went on to score #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B charts. It is also ranked #193 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

1985 –Wednesday- Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me.
Getting to know you, putting it my way,
But nicely,
You are precisely,
My cup of tea.
Oscar Hammerstein……..Yul Brynner, who knew a good thing when he had it, appeared in his 4,500th  performance of The King and I. Brynner had opened on Broadway in 1951 in the  Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. That go round lasted 1,246 performances.  The play was supposed to be a vehicle for Gertrude Lawrence, with the King an important but secondary role; but so powerful was Brynner's work that the role was beefed up in rehearsal. The King and I was an enormous hit and he repeated his performance in the film version, winning a Best Actor Oscar. After Gertrude Lawrence, Brynner had Constance Towers, Virgina McKenna and Mary Beth Piel as “I”.

1988- SundayOn this date 1853, La Traviata had its debut.  Proving that the taste of the music loving public can never be underestimated, Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up became the number one song.  This resulted in an anniversary year malaise as exactly one year later…

1989 –Monday-  Debbie Gibson’s Lost in Your Eyes became number 1.

1994-Sunday-  This day began the experiment known as  Biosphere 2, a glass enclosed ecosystem. A group of seven people from five countries began a study in self-contained living. The aim was to live within the structure, supported by the several simulated types of ecosystems inside and to provide information which might be applied to solving ecological problems created by man. Biosphere 2 was built in the desert outside of Oracle, Ariz. Most notable was the pre Survivor and other reality show squabbling by the Biosphere-ites. Oxygen levels fell within the structure, and prolonged sensory deprivation—as well as good, old-fashioned politics—ultimately led to the group’s split into warring factions, Lord of the Flies style according to Jane Pointer in The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2 We look forward to future attempts with some television connections: America's Top Model in the Biosphere in which models try to spell biosphere,  American Idol in the Biosphere in which people try to sing with no oxygen, and The Evening News in the Biosphere in which man eating plants devour your favorite clueless newsreaders and grinning sports reporters.

2009 –Friday-  NASA's Kepler mission lifted off without a hitch just before 11 p.m. local time Friday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Now, for the next three and a half years, Kepler would trail Earth in orbit and stare at a single patch of sky in the  Cygnus-Lyra region of the Milky Way looking for Earth-like planets that may sustain life.  We know that the planet from which an epidemic of effeminate men migrated to Earth to appear on television shows.  I


7.        1671 –Saturday-Now, Rob Roy's from the Highlands come
Unto our lowland border
And he has stolen a lady awa'
To keep his house in order
"Come go with me, my dear," he said
"Come go with me, my honey
And you shall be my own true wedded wife
I love you best of onie"
….Unknown…….Happy Birthday, Rob Roy McGregor, better known as Rob Roy, Scottish folk hero.  The name 'Rob Roy' comes from the Celtic for 'Red Robert', a reference to his red hair.  The legend of Rob Roy grew out of his famous feud with the Duke of Montrose. As with all farmers and ranchers, Rob Roy found it difficult to get money expand his regular cattle business and turned to Montrose for a loan (or investment money). Rob Roy claimed that one of his men ran off with £1000.  Montrose claimed Rob stole the money.  Montrose quickly became the “bad guy” in this tale of rich vs. poor.  He  brought charges of embezzlement against Rob hoping to gain his lands. Failing to answer the charge, Rob Roy was declared an outlaw and began his campaign of harassment against the Duke (rustling his cattle). Rob Roy rallied the MacGregor clan and led them in battle against the English, making many successful raids. Afterwards, he was tried for treason and lived life on the run, being captured twice but making spectacular escapes both times. Finally, in 1725, he turned himself in and received a pardon from the king, George 1. He died quietly at home in 1734.

            1788-Friday-  Happy Birthday- Antoine César Becquerel, French physicist who was the first to use electrolysis as a means of isolating metals from their ores. Becquerel also conducted innovative work on voltaic cells, in which he solved the problem of how electricity in the cell is produced. He demonstrated that electricity is generated by the contact of dissimilar bodies when they are rubbed together, differ in temperature, or react together, and that every chemical reaction is capable of producing electricity. He was the grandfather of Henri Becquerel who discovered radio activity.

            1792-Wednesday-  A good month for Herschels (see William Herschel and Caroline Herschel)  as well as astronaut births.  Happy Birthday Sir John Herschel (who opened a tavern and called it, yes..........a “Herschel Bar” ), son of William, who continued his father's research in astronomy. He also invented chrysotype (or gold print),  a photographic process in 1842.

1814 –Monday-  The Battle of Craonne (aka the “Crayola Battle”)ended in a slight, but pyrrhic victory for the French. Prussian Marshal Blucher had recovered from his earlier defeats more quickly than Napoleon Bonaparte had hoped but the French pushed the Allies over the Aube River in France. While Blucher planned his attack on Napoleon with some 85,000 men, Bonaparte's 37,000 troops attacked first. Unfortunately, for the French, the coordination was poorly timed the Allies managed to extricate themselves from a sticky situation. Craonne cost Blucher 5000 casualties, while Bonaparte lost some 5400. The outcome of the battle proved a minor but short-lived success for the French; with 5,400 casualties, French losses were slightly higher than the Coalition forces but Napoleon had at least out-maneuvered his opponents  and the French had held their ground in the face of superior numbers. It was, however, merely a prelude to the Battle of Laon which two days later resulted in a reversal of fortunes and the beginning of the end for Napoleon

1849-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Luther Burbank, American botanist, born in Lancaster, Massachusetts.  Burbank developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants, including 113 varieties of plums and prunes, 10 varieties of berries, 50 varieties of lilies, and the Freestone peach, a peach of an idea in which the peach  has a 'free' stone, which means the flesh of the fruit can easily be removed from the stone; little to none remains. We certainly know who wore the plants in his family!  His Burbank potato was introduced in Ireland to combat the blight epidemic. Burbank sold the rights to the potato for $150.  Plants were not patentable until 1930. Consequently, Burbank received his plant patents posthumously. He eventually ran out of names for them and resorted to referring to the  newer ones as; “the big one with the shiny leaves that turns brown when you give it too much water, the one that smells like a used sweat sock, the one that’s smarter than the average television news reader, and and the one that ate the dog.

1854-Tuesday-  Charles Miller of St. Louis, Mo., patented the first U.S. sewing machine to produce the herringbone or whipstitch buttonhole stitch. It’s a good thing to have button holes if you have buttons. This is the earliest mention of an over-edge stitch. It had people in stitches. The first functional sewing machine had been invented by the French tailor, Barthelemy Thimonnier, in 1830.  In 1846, the first American patent was issued to Elias Howe for "a process that used thread from two different sources." And that sewed it up until Isaac Singer built the first commercially successful sewing machine.

1857 –Saturday-  The Baseball rules committee stated that 9 innings shall constitute an official game rather than the previous requirement of a team scoring 9 runs. Also, the first time‚ the rules specify 9 men to a side‚ even though the game had been played that way since 1845. In this way they could end a game, tied at 7, that began in summer of 1856.   The players were getting a bit tired.  The rules committee then met at the first baseball convention, held in New York, in 1858. The New York Game rules were modified by representatives from 16 Manhattan and Long Island clubs. Though the Knickerbocker Club recommended that a winner be declared after seven innings, the conventions (there would be four in all, March 1858, March 1859, March 1860 and and December 1860 ) decided on nine innings, at the recommendation of Lewis F. Wadsworth. The base paths were fixed by D.L. Adams at 30 yards and the pitching distance at 15 yards.

1862-Friday -Ever play in a playground?  Happy Birthday, Joseph Lee, inventor and "Father of the American playground movement," who introduced the first contemporary neighborhood playground in the U.S. in Boston, Mass. Lee’s playground featured a pile of sand and swings.  Today, thanks to ADA laws, safety issues, the disease of Blindus Politicallus Correcticus, installation issues, building a playground (remember, the idea is “play”) can equal the planning required to build a suspension bridge. Professor Sy Yentz is still riled at the demise of the see saw.

1872 –Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Piet Mondrian, Dutch neoplasticism painter. His most famous compositions are made up of black lines and colored rectangles and his most famous painting is probably Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue – 1921- composed of primary colors in rectangles on a grid of black lines. And what is neoplasticism? Not surprisingly, it is a style of abstract painting, as found in the work of Mondrian, using black, gray, white, and the primary colors, and horizontal and vertical lines and planes

1875-Sunday- Happy Birthday, Maurice Ravel, the French composer. He is most famous for Bolero.

1876-Tuesday-   Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for what he called  "Improvement in Telegraphy"  which established the principle of the telephone. He held earlier patents. Bell and Eisha Gray had been working independently on the invention.  The work pace was so close that they actually got to the patent office on the same day.  Bell got there before Gray.  Gray sued. Bell won……that’s history. That’s also not the whole story.  Both Bell and Gray had filed on February 14, but Bell filed a patent application, with the claim that stated “I have invented.“ Gray, on the other hand, filed a caveat, a document used at the time to claim “I am working on inventing.“ Priority in American patent law follows date of invention, not date of filing. So that, and filing first helped Bell avoid a possible costly and time-consuming dispute. The U.S. Patent Office issued patent #174,465 to Bell on March 7, 1876.  Got it?

1897-Sunday- Dr. John Kellogg served the world's first cornflakes to his patients at his sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. Before long, ex-patients of the sanitarium were requesting the cereal flakes via the mail. Brother Will Kellogg fulfilled the orders and in so doing began a packaged food enterprise. Two years after the discovery of the wheat flakes they were calling Granose, Will successfully created corn flakes. He tried to persuade John that they should sell their discoveries to grocery stores, but John refused.  He believed such a blatant commercial venture might compromise his integrity as a medical professional. He added, though that based on the successful introduction at the mental hospital, a great ad campaign would be “I’m crazy about Granose”.

            1904 –Monday- Happy Birthday,  beyz, Reinhard Heydrich, German Nazi official and one of history’s monsters. Second in importance to Heinrich Himmler in the Nazi SS hierarchy, he was named "Hangman Heydrich" .  Heydrich had insatiable greed for power and was a cold, calculating manipulator without human compassion who was the leading planner of Hitler's Final Solution in which the Nazis attempted to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe. The plan was developed at the Wannsee Conference in Berlin with 15 top Nazi bureaucrats to coordinate the Final Solution to exterminate the, an estimated 11,000,000 persons. "Europe would be combed of Jews from east to west," Heydrich bluntly stated.  He was assassinated on May 27, 1942 by Free Czech agents who had been trained in England and brought to Czechoslovakia to assassinate him. In reprisal, Hitler ordered the small Czech mining village of Lidice to be liquidated on the trumped up charge that it had aided the assassins. In one of the most infamous single acts of World War Two, all 172 men and boys over age 16 in the village were shot on June 10, 1942, while the women were deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp where most died. Ninety young children were sent to the concentration camp at Gneisenau, with some taken later to Nazi orphanages if they were German looking.

            1908 –Saturday-  Making the statement that is his sole claim to a place in history,  Cincinnati's mayor, Mark Breith, suffering from what some called PMS – Pre Mazda Syndrome-  announced before the city council that, "Women are not physically fit to operate automobiles." At the time, there were fewer than 200,000 cars in the whole country and they required some strength to start with a hand crank. With the invention of the electric starter in 1911, things began to change and the advertising of the 1920s stressed how easy automobiles were for women to drive. The Gnus, always searching for more information, found that of the twenty eight websites mentioning Mark Breith – we searched Mark Brieth biography- his pronouncement on women’s automotive driving skills was the citation at every site. Party affiliation? Reaction from city council? Reaction from women – aside from the one who crashed into his car that morning- nada, zilch.

            1911-Tuesday-  No change? No place to put your clothes at the gym  because it’s a coin operated locker? Blame it on Willis Farnworth of Petaluma California who patented the coin-operated locker.  Farnsworth and co-inventor, William H. Reed called the infernal machine a "Magazine Hinge and Conveyer". They assigned their invention to the Coin Controlled Lock Co.

            1923-Wednesday the woods are dark and deep and I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep…..” The New Republic published Robert Frost's poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

            1926- The first successful trans-Atlantic radio-telephone conversation took place, between New York City and London on the 50th anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell’s patent.  The call was also the first time two news bureaus, the Associated Press and Reuters, had ever transmitted a story across the ocean through the telephone. The Gnus has located a transcript of the call: Reuters -  “Hello?” A.P-  “Reuters? This is A.P”. Reuters - “ A pea?” A.P - “Yes, A.P”. Reuters – “We didn’t know a pea could talk. Imagine, a talking pea. This is big news”.  A.P “No, it’s not a talking pea.  It’s A.P”. Reuters – “A urinary tract infection?”.  A.P “ No, it’s A.P”.  Reuters – “Ape E?, a talking gorilla?”…….

            1930 –Friday-  Happy Birthday, Stanley L. Miller, American chemist who conducted a series of famous experiments beginning in 1953, to determine the possible origin of life from inorganic chemicals on the primeval, just-formed earth.  So how did life begin on Earth? It remains an unanswered question although we could always ask Larry King who some believe was the result of the development of life from inorganic materials.

            1933-Tuesday- The game "Monopoly" was created and trademarked by Charles Darrow in Atlantic City.  Although there had been other board  games in the past, notably "The Landlord's Game,", invented by Quaker Lizzie Magie of Virginia in 1903. Darrow created his own version, modeled on his favorite resort, Atlantic City. He made numerous innovations for his game. He color-coded the properties and deeds for them, allowing them to be bought, not just rented. The playing pieces, ship, boot, dog, iron, hat, and car were modeled on items from around his house.

            1938 Monday- Happy Birthday, Janet Guthrie, American race car driver, Janet Guthrie was the first woman ever to drive in the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 auto races, both in 1977.        We not also that on this day in 1908 Cinncinnati mayor, Mark Breith announced before the city council that, "Women are not physically fit to operate automobiles." In 1977 at Indianapolis, twenty-seven laps into the race, Guthrie's day came to an early end when the car had mechanical problems.  In 1978, however, when she finished ninth at Indy with a team that she formed and managed herself. In the 1977 Daytona 500,  she became the first woman to earn a starting spot. She was running eighth ten laps from the end when her engine went sour -- she finished 12th and was the top rookie of the race.

            1938 –Monday- Happy Birthday, David Baltimore, American microbiologist. In 1970 he and his wife Alice Huang discovered a virus caused by an enzyme that could transcribe DNA into RNA. The virus was later identified as congressman Henry Waxman of California. Baltimore shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Renato Dulbecco and Howard Temin for his study on the connections between viruses and cancer.

            1939 -Tuesday Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians recorded Scottish poet Robert Burns’ composition,  Auld Lang Syne on Decca Records. He had been playing it on his radio broadcasts for a number of years. "The Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven" was the logo of Lombardo & His Royal Canadians, who by 1930 had established themselves as America's top dance band. It was his annual New Year's Eve show that made Auld Lang Syne a national standard. Between 1927 and 1954, Lombardo sold well over 100 milllion records on a variety of labels, including Columbia, Brunswick, Decca, and RCA/Victor.   He became so closely associated with Auld Lang Syne that when  appearing on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In in 1969, he said, “when I go, I’m taking Auld Lang Syne with me. 

            1946 –Thursday-  Remember Leave it to Beaver?  Remember the father played by Hugh Beaumont?  Well on this date we saw the premiere of Murder is My Business, a film noir starring Hugh Beaumont as private eye Michael Shayne. The movie co-starred Cheryl Walker, Lyle Talbot and George Meeker.

            1955 –Monday Producer’s Showcase on NBC – premiered Peter Pan starring Mary Martin. Co-starring Cyril Ritchard as Captain Hook and featuring Kathleen Nolan (who would go on to star with Richard Crenna and Walter Brennan in The Real McCoys), with choreography by Jerome Robbins, the show would become a television classic. Peter Pan proved an immediate and spectacular success, garnering an overnight rating of 48. The production was remounted, live, in January of 1956 and was rebroadcast annually for years thereafter. It was singled out in the 1955 Emmys as the best single program of the year.

            1957 –Thursday-   Happy, happy birthday, baby
            Although you're with somebody new
            Thought I'd drop a line to say
            That I wish this happy day
            Would find me beside you.”

             One of the great early “girl groups”…..sort of…the group consisted of Margo Sylvia, her husband, Johnny Sylvia, her brother Gilbert Lopez, and Charlotte Davis.  The Tune Weavers recorded Happy Happy Birthday Baby on Casa Grande Records.  The song went nowhere.  Later in the year it was “discovered” by Dick Clark (before he became a self promoting cliché, he did great things for Rock and Roll).  It was re-recorded on Chess Records and became a major hit and a standard “birthday song” despite its bittersweet message.

            1965 – The number one song on the Billboard Charts was the Beatles’ Eight Days a Week.  A year later it was Barry Sadler’s Ballad of the Green Berets.

            1979-Wednesday- There was now a  third planet surrounded by rings as scientists discovered a ring around Jupiter while examining photographs taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft. The rings of Saturn had been known since 1610. Astronomers had recognized rings around Uranus in 1977.  And yes, post 1979, they have found rings around Neptune.  There are no rings around the former planet now demoted to dwarf planet Pluto. Perhaps when a planet is demoted they take away its rings?

            1981 –Saturday -  In the sequels rarely work department, Bring Back Birdie, the decades later sequel to Bye Bye Birdie, went kaput after four performances.  The show starred  a creaky  Donald O’Connor, making his Broadway debut after over a hundred years in show business and Chita Rivera resurrected from the original show). It was directed by Joe Layton who also “conceived” the bomb. Critic Frank Rich in  The New York Times said “''Bring Back Birdie,' which begins as an amiable shambles, devolves into total chaos. Mr. Stewart unleashes a slew of confused, satirically toothless subplots that involve everything from an extramarital affair to a Hare Krishna cult to a fraudulent funeral to the heretofore secret identity of Albert's domineering mother (Maria Karnilova). By the end, the show has run off in so many cryptic directions that you may think each member of the cast has been handed a different lousy script. The score that interrupts this book has a death wish….

            1986-Friday-  Susan Butcher won the Iditarod dogsled race from Anchorage to Nome Alaska in 11 days, 5 hours, and 6 minutes. She later discovered she could have done it in seconds if she clicked her heels together as repeated   "There's no place like Nome, There's no place like Nome........"

            1986 –Friday-  NASA had said and most people had believed that the Challenger Astronauts had died instantly in the explosion of January 28. They were wrong.  The astronauts were alive all the way down. They worked frantically to save themselves through the plummeting arc that would take them 2 minutes and 45 seconds to smash into the ocean. On this day, a horrible discovery  was made as divers from the USS Preserver  located wreckage of the crew compartment of the space shuttle Challenger lying on the ocean bottom in 100 feet of water.  Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven aboard. The crew members were commander Francis Scobee, pilot Michael Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Gregory Jarvis and teacher Christa McAuliffe. On first inspection, it was obvious that the shuttle Challenger’s crew vessel had survived the explosion during ascent. 

            1988- Monday- Cyclone Bola hit New Zealand  on the East Coast of the North Island on this date and  did not finish up  until March 10. 

            1989 –Tuesday-  Poland accused the Soviet Union of a World War II massacre in Katyn. The Soviets responded by saying, “yes you’re right we’ve been murdering millions of people and lying about it since 1917”. Well, not really. Katyn  saw the mass killing of Polish military officers by the Soviet Union in World War II. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the Polish government-in-exile agreed to cooperate with the Soviets against Germany, and the Polish general forming the new army asked to have the Polish prisoners placed under his command, but the Soviet government informed him in December 1941 that most of those prisoners had escaped to Manchuria and could not be located. In 1943 the Germans discovered mass graves in the Katyn forest in western Russia. A total of 4,443 corpses were recovered; the victims had apparently been shot from behind and then piled in stacks and buried. The Soviet government claimed the invading German army had killed them.  In 1992 the Russian government released documents proving that the Soviet secret police were responsible for the executions and cover-up.

            1996-Thursday- The first surface photos  of the dwarf planet Kuiper Belt Object that used to be a planet Pluto were released. Although the only solar-system (at the time) planet never visited by spacecraft, it was successfully photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Gnus wonders if they would have bothered if it had only been a dwarf planet in 1996.  Most of the surface features are likely produced by frosts that migrate across Pluto's surface with its orbital and seasonal cycles. Pluto isn't large enough to retain much of an atmosphere, but it has a thin one that appears to be mostly nitrogen with some methane. We know essentially nothing about Pluto's interior at this point.



1618-Thursday-  Johann Kepler formulated his Third Law of Planetary Motion.  The law states that all “A fixed number of  popular science fiction movie creatures must be cute enough to be turned into action figures”.  No, no , no it’s also known as the Harmonic Law and unlike the first and second laws, which describe the motion characteristics of a single planet, the third law requires a harmonica and makes a comparison between the motion characteristics of different planets. The ratio of the squares of the revolutionary periods for two planets is equal to the ratio of the cubes of their semi major axes.  The comparison being made is that the ratio of the squares of the periods to the cubes of their average distances from the sun is the same for every one of the planets. Nothing like a developmentally appropriate explanation and we hope that clears it up for you. Kepler realized that the orbits of the planets were not the circles demanded by Aristotle and assumed implicitly by Copernicus, but were instead the "flattened circles" called ellipses. Kepler's laws were derived for orbits around the sun, but they apply to satellite orbits as well.

            1669-Sunday- Mount Etna, a volcano on the island of Sicily, blew its top and began erupting. Multiple eruptions over the next few weeks killed more than 20,000 people and left thousands more homeless. Most of the victims could have saved themselves by fleeing, but stayed, in a vain attempt to save their homes The moral of the story is don’t mess with a volcano.  Mt Etna has the longest period of documented eruptions in the world. The record goes back to about 1500 B.C. Etna is noted for the wide variety of eruption styles, notably, terminal eruptions that occur from one or more of the summit craters, subterminal eruptions occur from vents very close to the summit craters, and "take over" their activity.  lateral eruptions are fed by dikes radiating away from the central conduit system and occur at some distance from the summit craters, eccentric eruptions are not genetically linked to the (upper part of) the central conduit system, but are fed by conduits originating at depth, rather than by radial dikes, popping a pimple type eruptions in which vast amounts of volcanic pus spew out into the Mediterranean.

            1700ish Mondayish-  No one is sure of the date of the birth, some sources give “late 1690s” of  pirate Anne Bonny but 1700 is as good as any. Born in Ireland, raised in the U.S colonies, Anne Bonny, history's most infamous woman pirate, was a plunderer, cutthroat, sailor, ransomer, raider, and general menace to maritime commerce in the Caribbean but aside from that she was really nice. She had met and married pirate Jack Bonny and moved with him to what is now Nassau in the Bahamas.  There, Jack was disposed of and Anne took up both pirating and another pirate, Calico Jack Rackham, the man who allegedly invented the skull and crossbones symbol. She sailed with him disguised as a man – women were not allowed on pirate ships- and discovered another woman, Mary Read, also disguised as a man on the ship. Many sites and some books show Bonny and Read as scantily clad hot babes…..not true, the man disguises worked well until Bonny became pregnant.  She abandoned the baby and returned to plundering and murdering with Read and Rackham.

            1702-Wednesday-  Queen Anne, daughter of the deposed Catholic king, James II, and the last Stuart ruler, ascended the British throne after the kapution of  her brother in law, William III.  Anne, like William was a Protestant. The second daughter of James II, Anne supported the overthrow of her father by her sister Mary and the diminutive William of Orange in 1688 (the "Glorious Revolution").  Anne was in ill health during most of her reign. This was understandable because, married to Prince George of Denmark since 1683, she endured 17 or 18 ill-fated pregnancies (only one of her children lived past infancy, and he died at the age of 12). With no issue, 0 for 17 is not good…..she was succeeded after her demise in 1714 by  the Teutonic George I of Hanover, known by his subjects as “German Georgie”.

            1765 –Friday-  The British House of Lords approved the Stamp Act to tax the American colonies. It would be signed two weeks later by King George III (see Queen Anne, 1702 above). Facing a massive national debt following the Seven Years War (known as the French & Indian War in America) the Stamp Act was Parliament's first serious attempt to assert governmental authority over the colonies. The act required the use of stamped paper for legal documents, diplomas, almanacs, broadsides, newspapers and playing cards. The presence of the stamp on these items was to be proof that the tax had been paid.

            1775 – Wednesday He's a rebel and he'll never ever be any good
He's a rebel and he'll never ever be understood
And just because he doesn't do what everybody else does
That's no reason why I can't give him all my love
He is always good to me, always treats me tenderly
'Cause he's not a rebel, no no no
He's not a rebel, no no no, to me…………
..The Crystals………Famous for his pamphlets, particularly Common Sense, Thomas Paine's African Slavery in America was published. It was the first article in the United States calling for the emancipation of all slaves and the abolition of slavery.

            1782-Friday   The Gnadenhütten massacre in Gnadenhutten, Ohio. In one of the more disgraceful episodes of the American Revolution,160 Pennsylvania militiamen murdered 96 Christian Indians--39 children, 29 women and 28 men--by hammering their skulls with mallets from behind as they knelt unarmed, praying and singing, in their Moravian Mission at Gnadenhuetten in the Ohio Country. Although the militiamen claimed they were seeking revenge for Indian raids on their frontier settlements, the Indians they murdered had played no role in any attack. Gnadenhutten, in eastern central Ohio, was founded as a settlement of German and Lenape Native Americans affiliated with the Moravian Church.

                1787-Thursday- Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go I wanna be sedated
Nothin' to do and no where to go-o-oh I wanna be sedated
….The Ramones…. This gentleman’s birthday should be a day of celebration in acting, celebrity and wealthy circles.  Happy Birthday, Karl Ferdinand von Gräfe, German surgeon who helped to create modern plastic surgery. All of his early patients ended up looking like Michael Jackson. He improved the rhinoplastic process, and its revival was chiefly due to him. He based his work on 16th-century surgeon Gasparo Tagliacozzi’s “Italian method” of plastic surgery on the nose which uses a skin graft from the upper arm. Gräfe also developed an operation for repairing a cleft palate and made technical improvements in the administration of blood transfusions. Just like, beer on  St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps Hollywood could celebrate this day with nose jobs.

            1804 –Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Alvan Clark, American astronomer and maker of astronomical lenses. Together with his sons, George Bassett Clark, and Alvan Graham Clark, he founded Alvan Clark & Sons at Cambridgeport, Massachusetts.It became famous as the manufacturer of the largest and finest telescope lenses. The first achromatic lenses made in the United States were produced there. And why, you may ask is that important?  Well, glad you did.  No single lens can ever be free of chromatic aberration, but by combining lenses of different types, the effects of the component lenses can be made to cancel one another. Such an arrangement is called an achromatic lens.

            1836-Tuesday- Well the dawn was coming,
heard him ringing on my bell.
He said, ``My name's the teacher,
that is what I call myself.
And I have a lesson
that I must impart to you.
It's an old expression
but I must insist it's true.
Jump up, look around,
find yourself some fun,
no sense in sitting there hating everyone.  
……….Jethro Tull………Happy Birthday, Sir Michael Foster, English physiologist and educator who introduced modern methods of teaching biology and physiology that emphasize the laboratory training that we still see today. Foster's use of laboratory experimentation and research became standard in the teaching of the biological sciences in English universities and then spread to other countries. Barbara Hawgood notes in the Journal of Medical Biography that Foster, a great teacher, had a remarkable ability to attract talented students and to inspire them to undertake research. He himself took inspiration from the scientific philosophy of Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95) and of Claude Bernard (1813–78).

            1841-Monday- Happy Birthday, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, United States Supreme Court justice from 1902-1932. He was the son of the son of the prominent poet and physician, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. and abolitionist Amelia Lee Jackson.  Holmes Jr. served as first lieutenant in the Twentieth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He saw action, from the Peninsula Campaign to the Wilderness, suffering wounds at the Battle of Ball's Bluff, Antietam, and Fredericksburg and achieved some early notoriety by yelling at Abraham Lincoln during the Battle of Fort Stevens, saying "Get down, you fool!" when Lincoln stood, making him a susceptible target for a sniper.

            1862  -Saturday In one of the worst days in American Naval history, the C.S.S Virginia, formerly the U.S.S Merrimac, a scuttled Union wooden ship but now covered with armor that was four inches thick,  wrecked havoc at the Union Naval base in Hampton Roads , Virginia.  The Virginia sunk the wooden warships  Cumberland and Congress and caused the Minnesota to run aground.  When the Virginia returned the following day, it was met by the Union ironclad, Monitor.  See March 9.

                1874 and 1930 and 1999 – What do Millard Fillmore, William Howard Taft and Joe DiMaggio have in common? Former president Millard Fillmore, former president William Howard Taft, and baseball star and American icon, Joe DiMaggio all died on this day.

                1879-Saturday- Happy birthday, Otto Hahn, co-discoverer with radiochemist Fritz Strassmann, (the third member of the team, Lise Meitner had to leave Berlin because the Nazis were closing in on all people of Jewish ancestry) of nuclear fission in 1938.  Yes, the sign on his lab door said "Gone Fission".  He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1944 (many thought  Lise Meitner should have received a share) and shared the Enrico Fermi Award in 1966 with Strassmann and Lise Meitner.  Hahn also discovered protactinium, the long-lived mother substance of the actinium series,  and uranium Z, the first case of a nuclear isomerism of radioactive kinds of atoms. He also collaborated with Meitner and Fritz Strassmann on the processes if irradiating uranium and thorium with neutrons and using it to roast marshmallows.

            1887 –Tuesday-  The first telescopic fishing rod (did you have to look through it to see a fish?) was patented by Everett Horton, who according to the Horton Mfg. Co. website, wanted to sneak off and fish on a Sunday in the Puritanical village of Bristol Connecticut.  Not surprisingly, his rods were called Bristol rods.  Telescopic fishing rods are designed to collapse down to a short distance and open to a long rod. 20 or even 30 foot rods can close to as little as a foot and a half. This makes the rods very easy to transport to remote areas or travel on buses, compact cars, or public buses and subways should you live in a Puritanical village and wish to go fishing on a Sunday.

            1894-Thursday-  You now had to be 16 or over to drive a dog…….or, maybe it allowed dogs to drive….anyway,  New York State issued the first dog license law. All dogs living in New York State had to be licensed.

            1902 –Saturday-  Let's go surfin' now
Everybody's learning how
Come on and safari with me
(Come on and safari with...)
Early in the morning we'll be startin out
Some honeys will be comin' along
We're loadin' up my woody
with the boards inside
and heading out singing our song
Come on (surf route) baby wait and see (surfin' safari)
Yes I'm gonna (surf route) take you surfin' (surfin' safari) with me
Come along (surf route) baby wait and see (surfin' safari)
Yes I'm gonna (surf route) take you surfin' (surfin' safari) with me
……The Beach Boys………......Happy Birthday, Tom Blake, American inventor of the hollow- core surfboard in 1926.  Europeans had first seen Hawaiians surfing when Captain James Cook made his ill-fated visit to the islands but Polynesians had been riding waves for over a thousand years.  At the beginning of the 20th century, Duke Kahanamoku, already a surfing legend on Oahu and the prototypical "beach boy," traveled to California and Australia to demonstrate the ancient art on local beaches. Kahanamoku, revered by surfers as the father of modern surfing, also showed how to build the boards. Those boards were heavy and unwieldy.  Blake, who was also a national swimming champion, inventor, author and actor, invented his hollow surfboard which soon replaced the old solid surfboards. Hollow surfboards were much lighter (around 20kg/44lbs) and were easier to handle. 

            1917-Thursday-Look what's happening out in the streets
Got a revolution Got to revolution
Hey I'm dancing down the streets
Got a revolution Got to revolution
Ain't it amazing all the people I meet
Got a revolution Got to revolution ….
Jefferson Airplane……..In Russia, the February Revolution (known as such because of Russia's use of the Julian calendar) began with riots and strikes in Petrograd. One week later, centuries of czarist rule in Russia ended with the abdication of the unpopular and incompetent nincompoop, Nicholas II.  The spark to the events that ended tsarist rule was ignited on the streets of Petrograd – formerly St. Petersburg- in February 1917 (according to the Julian calendar then still in use in Russia; according to the modern Gregorian calendar, which was adopted in February 1918, these events occurred in March). Driven by shortages of food and fuel caused by WWI, crowds of hungry citizens and striking workers began spontaneous rioting and demonstrations. Local reserve troops, called in to suppress the riots, refused to fire on the crowds, and some soldiers joined the workers and other rioters. 

            1936-Sunday- Daytona Beach, Florida, staged its first race strictly for stock cars on a combination beach and public roadway course. The beach component of the race was very unpopular with sun bathers and picnickers.  The race is remembered as the impetus for today's NASCAR.  The course that went down 1.5 miles of highway, then turned and came the same distance back up the beach ….leaving tire marks on the back of a sunbather, Biff Bacciagaloupi……

                1945 –Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Micky Dolenz, who played Circus Boy on 1950’s television and became a member of The Monkees  along with Michael Nesmith, David Jones and Peter Tork during the 1960’s. Dolenz remained a life long Monkee as the other three left, rejoined, left, reunited, left………….

                1951 Thursday-  The premiere of the Lemon Drop Kid starring Bob Hope.  We mention this because the movie unleashed the Christmas standard, Silver Bells.  Co-starring were; Lloyd Nolan, Marilyn Maxwell, Fred Clark, Jay C. Flippen,  and William Frawley (pre I Love Lucy).

                1962 –Thursday- Dream baby
Got me dreamin' sweet dreams
The whole day through
Dream baby
Got me dreamin' sweet dreams
Night time too
I love you and I'm dreamin' of you
That won't do
Dream baby, make me stop my dreamin'
You can make my dreams come true
Sweet dream baby
Sweet dream baby
Sweet dream baby
How long must I dream
The Beatles, with Pete Best on the drums, made their television debut on the BBC show Teenager's Turn (Here We Go)  singing Roy Orbison’s Dream Baby. The show was broadcast from 5:00- 5:29 p.m/ In August, fellow Liverpudlian Ringo Starr (born Richard Starkey), then a member of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, replaced Pete Best.

                1964 Sunday- The Dave Clark Five made their American television debut on, yes Ed Sullivan…who knew a good thing when he had it going with the British Invasion stuff.  The Gnus memory  of 1964 places the Dave Clark Five (Dave Clark was not the lead singer, he was the drummer) as number two in order in the “invasion”  with the Rolling Stones coming next as number three.  They performed Glad All Over (a salute to sandwich plastic wrap).  Also appearing on the show were, Steve Lawrence (sans Edie Gorme), Jerry Vale, Florence Henderson, Juliet Prowse and Blossom Seeley so the Dave Clark Five were a perfect fit.

            1976-Monday-  Scientists recovered a 1,756 kg. chunk of meteorite in Jilin (in Manchuria), China This was the largest meteorite ever recovered. It produced an impact crater 6 meters deep, only a couple of hundred meters from the nearest house. The meteorite was a part of a meteor shower. The Jilin meteorites are stony meteorites classified as H5 Chondrites with a total iron content of 28.6%. After effects of the meteor crash included a mutant virus that causes the disease Obnoxious Stupidius Crassium - people to talk out loud at the movies.

            1979-Thursday- Volcanoes on Jupiter’s Moon Io (pronounced “eye oh” so  Professor Sy Yentz has nicknamed it the “Internal Revenue Moon” as in I owe.)were discovered by Voyager 1.  Io was one of four moons discovered by Galileo in 1610.  We have learned that Io is literally bursting with volcanic activity. Volcanoes spew out vast amounts of sulfurous material which cover Io's landscape. Not, the best place to spend your vacation, as from Io’s surface, geyserlike eruptions eject dust and gas hundreds of kilometers into space, which fall back to the ground in elegant umbrella-shaped plumes. Some of the hottest temperatures in the solar system outside of the sun are found here, and yet most of the surface is bitterly cold. Volcanic spillage from Io has resulted an isolated brain malfunction on Earth causes some male golfers to wear pink pants on the golf course.  Voyager 1 continued on its merry way.  The spacecraft is a 722-kilogram robotic space probe of the outer solar system and beyond, launched September 5, 1977.  It visited Jupiter and Saturn and was the first probe to provide detailed images of the moons of these planets. Voyager 1 is the farthest human-made object from Earth, traveling away from both the Earth and the Sun at a relatively faster speed than any other probe

            1993 –Monday-  The start of Beavis and Butthead as a series. Videos included
Olivia Newton-John - Physical The Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated, Big Daddy Kane with Barry White - All Of Me Wants All Of You, Judas Priest - Painkiller  and Concrete Blond - Bloodletting. Highlight of the show was the guys throwing clots of blood at each other.

            1995 –Wednesday- We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun. …….Terry Jacks……..A balmy -26ºF (-32.2ºC) in Bismarck ND

            1995 –Wednesday – Not to be outdone…-44ºF (-42.2ºC) in Chosedacharad, Russia,  Komi-district, probably in Siberia or Kamchatka or Irkusk ….the places that are so hard to defend when you’re playing Risk……on 67ºN so, nyah, nyah, nyah Bismarck North Dakota.

            2000- The number 1 song on the Billboard Charts was Say My Name by Destiny’s Child (actually there were three of them so it should have been Destiny’s Youths).  Meanwhile, in Australia, the number 1 song was Bloke by Chris Franklin featuring the Cole Porteresque lyrics: I'm a bloke,
I'm an ocker
And I really love your knockers                                             
I'm a labourer by day,
I piss up all me pay
Watching footy on TV
Just feed me more VB
Just pour my beer,
And get my smokes,
And go away



1454-Thursday- Happy Birthday ,Amerigo Vespucci, Italian explorer and navigator. The Americas were named after him. This, of course, resonates a bit better than North Vespuccica and South Vespuccica. As Tony Horwitz tells us in his book about the explorers of the Americas, A Voyage Long and Strange, Vespucci had befriended Columbus during his final years.  Vespucci outfitted fleets crossing the Atlantic.  He also claimed to be a great navigator.  He was another of those in history who managed to inflate his legacy through a genius for self promotion.  Vespucci claimed to have sailed to South America in  1497, called it a “new world” and wrote a best seller featuring Native women who were “giantesses”  and, conveniently, who loved to copulate with Christians.  In 1507, a year after Columbus went kaput. German map maker, Martin Waldseemuller published a map adding a “fourth part” to the known world of Europe, Asia, and Africa.  He named it “America” after “its discoverer, a man of great ability”.  Goodbye Columbus.  America was reprised in 1538 by Gerard Mercator, (see March 5) who named both continents America.  Ralph Waldo Emerson summed up the goings on with “Strange, that broad America must wear the name of a thief.  Amerigo Vespucci, the pickle dealer at Seville, who…..managed in this lying world to supplant Columbus and baptize half the earth  with his own dishonest name.”

           1564-Thursday-   A “father-son” day.  Happy Birthday David Fabricius, German astronomer and  friend of Tycho Brahe and  Johannes Kepler. He was one of the first to use Galileo’s techniques in telescope observation of the skies. Fabricius discovered the first known periodic variable star (as opposed to cataclysmic variables, such as novas and supernovas), Mira, in August of 1596. In 1611, his son, Johannes Fabricius, observed the rising sun through his telescope, and observed several dark spots on it. This was perhaps the first ever observation of sunspots. He joined with his father (on his birthday) and  investigated this new phenomenon. Also notable is the kapution of David Fabricius. After denouncing a local goose thief from the pulpit, the accused man conked him in the head with a shovel and killed him.

            1566-Wednesday- David Rizzo, Mary Queen of Scot’s secretary was murdered. The rather dim and flighty Queen, with terrible taste in men, seemed to leave a trail of bodies wherever she went. David Rizzo, brother of Midnight Cowboy’s Ratso Rizzo, was an Italian
born in Turin. After moving to Britain, he become the private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots.  Lord Darnley, Mary’s foolish and haughty husband, became jealous of Rizzo.  He joined in a conspiracy of Protestant nobles to slew the Catholic Rizzo, who was deemed to be too influential, and possibly the lover of the pregnant (with James VI) impressionable Mary.
The murder was the catalyst for the downfall of Darnley and had serious consequences for Mary's subsequent adventures. Rizzo  was stabbed an alleged 56 times, (we’ve also seen 57 but who’s counting) before being thrown down the main staircase and stripped of his jewels and fine clothes. He was buried within two hours

             1758-Thursday-  He had some gall! Happy Birthday, Franz Gall, German anatomist and physiologist, and a pioneer in ascribing cerebral functions to various areas of the brain. Gall suggested that the brain was divided into 27 separate "organs,". Each organ supposedly corresponded to a discrete human faculty, though Gall identified 19 of these faculties as being shared with other animal species. He was the first to recognize that the gray matter of the brain is made up of nerve cell bodies but the white matter of the brain has the fibers that carry the impulses from the nerves. Gall was the founder of phrenology, the now abandoned study of the shape of skull as indicative of the strengths of different faculties. Although, looking at the head of Vladimir Putin, phrenology might be reconsidered.

            1781-Friday-  Taking advantage of the distracted British busy fighting with their American colonies, the Spanish had captured large areas of  Louisiana and Mississippi. On this day Spanish General Bernardo de Galvez, commander of the Spanish forces in North America, attacked the British-occupied city of Pensacola, Florida and began a two-month siege known as the Battle of Pensacola .The siege ended with a British surrender on May 8.  Spain captured 165 beach front condos, two golf courses and a t-shirt shop. Spain also wanted to regain Gibraltar in the Mediterranean and solidify control of its North American holdings, so it allied itself to France in the international war against Britain. As a result, Spain regained West Florida during the fighting and East Florida, which it traded for the Bahamas and a Mickey Mantle 1952 baseball card, in the final peace. Though Gibraltar remained in British control, Spain would (temporarily) hold  all the land surrounding the Gulf of Mexico.

            1796 – Wednesday- A social note as Napoléon Bonaparte married his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais.  The groom had to place the ring on the bride’s finger using one hand since his other was stuck in his shirt via his classic Napoleonic pose.  The bride was resplendent in a gown by Philippe de Walmart. The groom was suitably heroic in a rented tuxedo by Tommy Hilfiger. The reception, held at Antoine’s of Waterloo featured music by D.J Versaillezezezez.  Napoleon left the following morning to go conquer Italy. They were divorced in 1809.   

            1822 –Saturday-  Charles Graham received a patent for artificial teeth. Not quite that simple though.  We’ve looked for the composition of said teeth but in the Xeroxian World of the Internet…..No go….just dozens of Graham, his patent, his teeth and that’s the whole tooth..  We did find the patent reference:   GRAHAM, CHARLES M.; ARTIFICIAL TEETH; NEW YORK NY 9 MAR 1822 This list was compiled from printed (usually annual) lists of patents which had been issued. The Patent Office records concerning these patents were destroyed in the 1836 fire. Most were not reconstructed, and the full patents are not now available in the Patent Office records. These were not the first artificial teeth. In 1654 Englishman Peter Lowe explained that artificial teeth were being made of ivory and whalebone and then fastened in place with wire. But, until the end of the 17th century there was little or no progress in methods of treating dental problems and the practice of wearing artificial teeth was very rare.  Porcelain teeth were first created in 1774, but they had a tendency to chip and break – as well as being just a little too white to be wholly convincing – and fully artificial false teeth4 didn't take off properly until the mid-19th Century, once the discovery of vulcanized rubber had allowed for the invention of properly fitting dentures, molded exactly from the individual patient's mouth.

            1832 –Friday- Abraham Lincoln of New Salem, Il. announced that he would run for political office for the first time. He ran for a seat in the Illinois state legislature. He lost.  Followers of Andrew Jackson, who was seeking a second term as president, called themselves Democrats. Followers of  Jackson’s arch enemy, U.S. Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky called themselves National Republicans and later Whigs. Lincoln supported Clay, who had long been his political idol. He remained a faithful Whig until the party disintegrated over the question of slavery in the 1850s. During the campaign, Lincoln spoke from tree stumps in village squares (the origin of the terms “on the stump” or “stumping”). There were 13 county candidates running for four legislative seats. Lincoln finished eighth.

            1856 –Sunday-  Happy Birthday – Edward Goodrich Acheson, American inventor discovered  carborundum, the second hardest substance (next to diamonds) and did his bit for the pencil industry by perfecting a method for making artificial graphite. Acheson worked for Thomas Edison for a few years and then started his own laboratory  and in 1891 he obtained the use of an electric generating plant of considerable power and tried to use electric heat to impregnate clay with carbon. The resultant mass exhibited some small shiny specks, and he determined that this crystalline substance had value as an abrasive—it was actually silicon carbide, which he called "carborundum."

            1858-Tuesday- I gave a letter to the postman,
he put it his sack.
But 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………Albert Potts of Philadelphia Pa. received the first U.S. patent for a street mailbox. The first to be approved by the U.S Post Office, it was a simple metal box designed to be attached to a lamppost.  Potts's idea was to attach street letter boxes to existing light or electricity poles or, where none existed, onto new lampposts that his company would install. This was great planning by Potts as the use of light standards or hydro poles for mounting street letter boxes was an innovative idea. In Canada, and presumably in Great Britain where the idea of street mail pickup was introduced, the ground-embedded pillar letter boxes were still the norm. Unfortunately for Potts, while the street illumination would help folks find the mailbox,  the mailbox itself was too small. Much much too small. As a result, it required frequent emptying. Its small size was an obvious disadvantage with an unnecessarily high cost associated with it that could only be remedied with the introduction of a larger model. For that reason, not surprisingly, the U.S. Post Office Department in 1860 awarded a contract to John Murray to manufacture 1,600 units of what it described as "lamppost" letter boxes. They were to be larger than the Potts model but unfortunately for collectors and postal history aficionados, not a single Murray lamppost box is known to have survived.

            1862-Sunday-  The Monitor vs. The Merrimac in the first battle of ironclad ships. Ironclads were wooden ships that had an iron shell covering the outside.  These iron shells proved much more effective than previous attemps at protection featuring, cottonclads, styrafoamaclads, and bubbleclads. Both the Monitor and the Virginia (the Merrimac was a captured Union warship refurbished with iron sides and renamed Virginia) suffered direct hits that failed to penetrate their iron shells. Finally, after four hours of bouncing cannonballs off each other, a cannon blast from the Virginia hit the Monitor's pilot house, temporarily blinding the ship's captain. The Virginia escaped to Norfolk, Virginia, and the epic battle of the Monitor and. the Merrimac ended in a draw. However, there would be no more forays attacking union ships (see March 8) by the Merrimac.  Two months later, the Virginia was trapped in Norfolk by advancing Union forces, and its Confederate crew blew up the vessel rather than allow it to fall into Union hands.

            1864 – Wednesday- Grant takes command (good title for a book, Bruce Catton, please take note) The rank of lieutenant general had not been in use in the US Army.  In fact, the only man in American history to have held rank had been George Washington. On this day it was revived by act of Congress. A ceremony was held in Washington wherein President Abraham Lincoln, with the entire Cabinet in attendance, awarded a commission of this rank to Ulysses S. Grant. With Grant now in overall command of the Union Forces, William T. Sherman took command of the Union Army in the West. In late May and early June came the bloody battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. Although pyrrhic victories for Robert E. Lee, (Cold Harbor, in particular was a slaughter of Union troops), they showed that Grant would not be slowed or stopped in his attacks and a Union victory in the Civil War was inevitable.

            1893 –Thursday-  The final defeat of slave traders in the Congo as thousands of Arabs were killed by natives.  The Xeroxian World of the Internet says “Congo cannibals killed 1000s of Arabs “ and leaves it there… about 50 different sites.  We did find a reference in  The Congo Slave State: A Protest Against the New African Slavery (1903) by  Edmund Dene Morel “In 1893, a portion of the cannibal soldiery of the Congo State, ...cannibal army of 20,000 men is armed with the Albini rifle”. The context was the Belgo-Arab War in the Eastern Congo, 1892-1894.

            1896 –Monday  Another day after another defeat for Italy (see Napoleon 1796 above).  This time Prime Minister Francesco Crispi resigned following the Italian defeat at the Battle of Adowa to Ethiopia. Okay okay okay, lots of armies lost to Napoleon but Ethiopia?

            1905 – Thursday- American archaeologist, Theodore H. Davis discovered the tombs of Tua and Yua, (Touiyou  and Iouiya)the parents of Teia, mother of the great heretic king, Akhenaton, husband of Nefertiti. Got it? Of course timing is everything. Davis employed an American named Howard Carter, to copy the hieroglyphics from Egypt's monuments and temples. Davis then relinquished his control over Carter, and in 1917, Lord Carnarvon, became Carter's financial sponsor. In 1922 Carter made the greatest discovery in Egyptian archaeological history, the tomb of King Tutankhamen.

            1917-Friday- Several hundred Mexican guerrillas under the command of Francisco "Pancho" Villa crossed the U.S.-Mexican border and attacked the small border town of Columbus, New Mexico. Seventeen Americans were killed in the raid, and the center of town was burned. President Wilson then ordered the army under the command of John Pershing (later leader of the U.S Expeditionary Force in WW1)into Mexico to find Villa. They didn't.      

            1934-Friday- Happy Birthday, Yuri Gagarin, Russian cosmonaut and the first man to fly in space. Gagarin was killed in1968 in the crash of a two-seat jet aircraft while on what was described as a routine training flight. Of course you can’t believe anything the Communists said so who knows what really happened. His ashes were placed in a niche in the Kremlin wall. Yuri Gagarin flew only one space mission. On April 12, 1961 he became the first man to orbit Earth. Major Gagarin's spacecraft, Vostok 1, circled Earth at a speed of 27,400 kilometers per hour. The flight lasted 108 minutes. At the highest point, Yuri Gagarin was about 327 kilometers above Earth. At the time of his death, he was in training for a second space mission

            1948 –Tuesday-  The University of California at Berkeley and the Atomic Energy Commission officially announced the artificial production of mesons using Ernest Lawrence’s 184-inch cyclotron at the university's Radiation Laboratory. The HyperPhysics site tells us that Mesons are intermediate mass particles which are made up of a quark-antiquark pair. Three quark combinations are called baryons. Mesons are bosons, while the baryons are fermions. Recent experimental evidence shows the existence of five-quark combinations which are being called pentaquarks. So basically, mesons are any member of a family of subatomic particles composed of a quark and an antiquark. Mesons are sensitive to the strong force, the fundamental interaction that binds the components of the nucleus by governing the behavior of their constituent quarks. Mesons were predicted theoretically in 1935 by the Japanese physicist Yukawa Hideki, the existence of mesons was confirmed in 1947 by a team led by the English physicist Cecil Frank Powell with the discovery of the pi-meson (pion) in cosmic-ray particle interactions with cucumbers and participants in the television show, The Bachelor.

            1955 –Wednesday-  The New York Premiere of East of Eden (general release was April 10). Directed by Elia Kazan, based on John Steinbeck’s book, the movie starred James Dean, Julie Harris, Burl Ives, Raymond Massey, Jo van Fleet, and Albert Dekker. James Dean would go kaput in a car crash on September 30, 1955.  Rebel Without a Cause and Giant were released posthumously.

            1959 –Monday-  The Barbie Doll was unveiled to an unwitting public at the American Toy Fair in New York City. The Barbie doll was invented in 1959 by Ruth Handler (co-founder of Mattel), whose own daughter was called Barbara. The doll was intended to be a teenage fashion doll. Someone figured out that if Barbie was a real person her measurements would be 36-18-38. The Ken doll was named after Ruth's son. Barbie first had bendable legs in 1965. There followed several different versions of Barbie.  The most expensive version was Divorce Barbie costing $258.  Reason for the high price was that along with Barbie you got Ken’s house, car, boat, and villa in Tuscany.

            1961 –Thursday-  How much is that doggie in the window? [Arf, arf]
The one with the waggly tail
How much is that doggie in the window
? [Arf, arf]
I do hope that doggie's for sale
I must take a trip to California
And leave my poor sweet heart alone
If he has a dog he won't be lonesome
And the doggie will have a good home……
Patti Page…….The launch of Sputnik 9. Prior to Yuri Gagarin’s (see 1934 above) launch in 1961, the Russians had sent a veritable managerie into space.  Sputnik 9 carried the black dog Chernushka (Blackie,  a dummy cosmonaut, (later identified as Dan Quayle) mice and a guinea pig on the one orbit mission.  At least thirteen Russian dogs were launched between November 1957 and March 1961. Space Today On Line tells us that in order of flight, they were: Strelka, Chernushka, Zvezdochka, and Belka, Laika (Barker in Russian),Bars (Panther or Lynx), Lisichka ( Little Fox), Belka (Squirrel), Strelka (Little Arrow), Pchelka (Little Bee), Mushka (Little Fly), Damka (Little Lady), Krasavka (Beauty), Chernushka (Blackie), Zvezdochka (Little Star)., Verterok or Veterok (Little Wind),Ugolyok or Ugolek (Little Piece of Coal)  Five of the dogs went kaput in flight: Laika, Bars, Lisichka, Pchelka, and Mushka

            1969 –Sunday Shut up
Just shut up
Shut up [3x]
Shut it up, just shut up
Shut up
Just shut up
Shut up [3x]
Shut it up, just shut up
…………..Black Eyed Peas……Smothers Brothers show kaput.  Even after they had renewed the show for another season, CBS cancelled the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Everyone ended up in court "In our case, seventy-five percent of the twenty-six shows we've done this season were censored," Tom Smothers told Look magazine in June, 1969, "And we're mild’. Tommy Smothers was turning in the shows too late to be edited before broadcast - CBS demanded that the Comedy Hour episodes be completed and reviewed by censors by Wednesday of each week. The network claimed the last show of the season was turned in late, cried breach of contract and dropped the series. (It was later proved that the network DID have the tape in their possession after all.) The network ultimately refused to run the episode anyway because they said it "would be considered irreverent and offensive by a large segment of our audience."  The Smothers offered the censored episode on a syndicated basis, hoping that stations would sign on for a new ninety-minute Smothers special with new material added. Instead, NBC aired a 60-minute special starring the Smothers brothers and Peter Fonda (Easy Rider) which led to another weekly variety series - on ABC.

            1972-Thursday-  The U.S. banned the sweetener saccharine when tests on mice                      proved it to be carcinogenic. Saccharin was the first artificial sweetener to be discovered but was actually done so by accident. In 1878 during experiments on toluene derivatives, a substance in coal tar, Ira Remsen determined the substance to be the new compound saccharin. Following the ban, subsequent research showed no link to stomach cancer from saccharin consumption in humans and, based on federal legislation in 2001, products containing saccharin no longer have to carry a warning label. In addition, the National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommended in its “Report on Carcinogens, 9th Edition” that saccharin be removed from the list of potential carcinogens, and the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also removed saccharin from its Proposition 65 list of carcinogens.

            1977 –Wednesday-  Another day another Islamic terrorist attack.  In a  thirty-nine hour standoff, armed Hanafi Muslims seized  three Washington, D.C., buildings, killing two and taking 149 hostage. After three days of denunciations of Jews, and demands that the movie Mohammad, Messenger of God be destroyed because they considered it sacrilegious.", the terrorists surrendered.  All were later tried and convicted, with the leader receiving a sentence of 21 to 120 years while being forced to watch Ishtar 12 hrs. a day  for his role in the terror attack.

            1979-Friday-  Voyager 1 took the famous photo of the exploding volcano on the Jovian moon,            Io ( the pronunciation results in it also being known as the Internal Revenue Moon as in ”I owe” ).  Voyager could be heard singing, “ Io Io it’s off to work I go.........” In all, Voyager found nine volcanoes on Io. Astronomers were surprised to find that Io's volcanoes seem to be part of the system that distributes the sulfuric snow across the planet. The edges of some lava fields have a bluish haze, where the heat would change the solid snow back into a gas.  Effects of Io’s volcanism have been observed on Earth with the development of the species Airplanicus Boardius Firstius  in which sulfer ions from Io have resulted in humans who HAVE  to get on the plane first, no matter where they are sitting, so they can store their bags in the overhead bins.

      1981-Monday-   A  Japanese power plant at Tsuruga leaked radioactive waste.  In following Rule 1 of nuclear power plant disasters – see Chernobyl, Three-mile Island and others- Deny Deny Deny…then, fail to report the seriousness of the leak, then  fail to take immediate prophylactic measures and then underplay the entire event.  And yes, this being Japan, a giant mutant lizard then attacked Toyko.

            1990 –Friday- “Look up and cough”.   Dr. Antonia Novello was sworn in as surgeon general, becoming the first woman and the first Hispanic to hold the job. She had been appointed by President George H.W Bush.

            2004 – Tuesday- The Billboard No. 1 song for the week was Yeah by Usher featuring Ludacris & Lil Jon. It was one of the few hit songs in which the names of the artists was considerably longer than the song title.

      2005 –Wednesday-Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain
The summer's gone, and all the flowers
are dying

'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must
  “Courage”. Dan Rather appeared for the last
time on "The CBS Evening News"
Rather stepped down 24 years to the day
after he replaced CBS News icon: Walter Cronkite.



241 B.C –Wednesday-  The battle of the Aegates Islands was the final and decisive battle of the First Punic War between Rome and Carthage. When the war had started twenty years earlier, Roman had been a land power and Carthage the foremost naval power in the western Mediterranean. Twenty years of war would end with a resounding Roman naval victory.  No fools they, after the defeat Carthage decided to negotiate. Hamilcar was given the authority to make peace. The Roman general Lucius Catulus agreed to fairly generous terms. Carthage would evacuate Sicily. Neither Rome nor Carthage would make war on the others allies.  Hamilcar’s oldest son was Hannibal who would lead Carthage to several great victories (Canae) during the second Punic War.

Note: the Punic Wars should not be confused with the Pubic Wars which are on going and feature entirely different kind of battles

            1452 –Wednesday-  ?????? and Isabella.  Happy Birthday, King Ferdinand of Aragon.  He married to Isabella of Castile in 1469. They were the Steve and Edie of monarchs.  Under their rule Spain emerged as a unified and newly powerful country. They defeated and expelled the Muslims, who had attacked and occupied the country, they underwrote the voyages of Coumbus and unfortunately, implemented the Spanish Inquisition.

            1496-Tuesday-  Speaking of Ferdinand and Isabella,  Christopher Columbus finished up his second visit to the Western Hemisphere. He left Hispaniola for Spain and  returned just in time for the Columbus Day Sales. None of his subsequent voyages, he made four in all, were as successful as the first.  The second voyage brought European livestock (horses, sheep, a collection of Osbornes and cattle) to America for the first time. Although Columbus kept a log of his second voyage, only very small fragments survive. Most of what we know comes from indirect references or from accounts of others on the voyage

            1628-Friday-  Happy Birthday, Marcello Malpighi,  Italian physician and biologist. Malpighi was one of the first to apply the microscope to the study of animal and vegetable structure; and his discoveries were so important that he may be considered to be the founder of microscopic anatomy. Yes, yet another “father of….”. See out Who’s Your Daddy Page Malpighi based his work on the work of William Harvey and although Harvey had correctly inferred the existence of the capillary circulation, he had never seen it. Four years after Harvey went kaput  in 1557, Malpighi located the capillaries that carry blood from the arteries to the veins on the surface of the lung and of the distended urinary bladder of a frog, which  must have been very uncomfortable for the frog. He also identified sensory receptors (papillae) of the tongue and skin and capsules of the kidney and spleen. He was then able to vent his spleen. He showed that there is no such thing as black bile, which since ancient times had been believed to be one of the four humors (fluids) of the human body, together with yellow bile, blood, and phlegm. He was one of the first scientists to study such anatomical structures as the lungs, kidneys, spleen, brain, tongue, and skin at the microscopic level.

            1709-Sunday- Happy Birthday, Georg Steller, German naturalist.  Steller was the physician on Vitus Berings second expedition to what came to be called  Bering Island. The Steller’s jay is one of the animals he discovered and it proved to the expedition that they had reached America. Others discoveries included the Steller’s spectacled cormorant, the Steller Dallas,  and sea eagle. In addition, he wrote the first descriptions of North Pacific marine mammals, including the sea lion and the now-extinct Steller’s sea cow.  He collected more than 200 plant species and documented evidence of indigenous Alaskans. The scientific  contributions are all the more amazing considering he did the bulk of his work during the harsh winter on Bering Island. His kapution, however, was less than steller.  Drunk, he froze to death during a snow storm.

            1748 –Sunday- “Don’t know much about geology…..Sam Cooke…. Happy Birthday John Playfair, Scottish mathematician, physicist, and geologist.  His Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth (1802) gave strong support to James Hutton's principle of uniformitarianism, essential to a proper understanding of geology. Without Playfair, Hutton and geology would probably have remained obscure.  Hutton was described in Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything as a man of keen insights and lively conversation. Unfortunately, it was beyond him to set down his notions in a form that anyone could begin to understand. A biographer described him as “almost entirely innocent of rhetorical accomplishments.” Without Playfair, no one could read Hutton’s work. Playfair is also famous for his axiom that two intersecting straight lines cannot both be parallel to a third straight line.

            1762- Wednesday- Happy Birthday, Jeremias Richter, German chemist who discovered the law of equivalent proportions. Richter was much influenced by philosopher Immanuel Kant (Critique of Pure Reason - who would not accept that you “kant” but insisted you “could”), in the contention that science is really applied mathematics. Richter believed that substances combined with one another in fixed proportions. Speaking of fixed proportions, he demonstrated that acids and bases neutralize each other in, yes, fixed proportions. Richter found that the ratio by weight of the compounds consumed in a chemical reaction was always the same. It took 615 parts by weight of magnesia (MgO), for example, to neutralize 1000 parts by weight of sulfuric acid (but all bets were off it you had eaten Mexican food). The balancing of reactions based on fixed proportions is known as stoichiometry.  In 1791 he demonstrated that acids and bases neutralize to produce salts. Richter was  the first scientist to establish stoichiometry, which then became the basis of quantitative chemical analysis.

                  1791 –Thursday-  John Stone patented the pile driver. Why would anyone want to drive piles?  Is this another Uranus joke?  Actually, A pile driver or is a mechanical device used to drive piles into soil to provide foundation support for buildings or other structures.

            1797-Friday-  When not busy writing the Declaration of Independence, being the first Secretary of State and being the 3rd president, Thomas Jefferson presented a paper on the megalonyx to the American Philosophical Society. It was published with the catchy, “romance novelesque” title of  A Memoir on the Discovery of Certain Bones of a Quadruped of the Clawed Kind in the Western Parts of Virginia .The animal, a huge extinct sloth was named Megalonyx jeffersoni by a French naturalist.

                        1849-Saturday-  Abraham Lincoln applied for a patent, the first president to do so.  While Thomas Jefferson had several inventions, he never applied for a patent.  The patent, which would be granted on May 22 of the same year was for a device to lift boats over shoals, sort of a dry dock.  The invention was never manufactured     

            1864 –Thursday—“Tell me what brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.” ..Abraham Lincoln….Having             been appointed by Congress on the 9th  of March, President Lincoln today             signed   the papers making Ulysess S. Grant Commander of the Union Armies. With Grant         now in overall command of the Union Forces, William T. Sherman took           command of the Union Army in the West. In late May and early June came the       bloody battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. Although       pyrrhic victories for Robert E. Lee, (Cold Harbor, in particular wasa slaughter of     Union troops), they showed that Grant would not be slowed or stopped in his           attacks and a Union victory in the Civil War was inevitable.

            1876-Friday- Hello. How are you?
Have you been alright, through all those lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely nights
That's what I'd say. I'd tell you everything
If you'd pick up that telephone yeah yeah yeah
Hey. How you feelin?
Are you still the same?
Don't you realize the things we did, we did, were all for real, not a dream?
I just can't believe
They've all faded out of view yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Doowop dooby doo doowop doowah doolang
Blue days black nights doowah doolang
I look into the sky, the love you need ain't gonna see you through
And I wonder why the little things you planned ain't coming true
Oh oh Telephone Line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight
Oh oh Telephone Line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight…
….Electric Light Orchestra…….Alexander Graham Bell made what was, in effect, the first telephone call. His assistant, Thomas Watson, located in an adjoining room in Boston, heard Bell's voice over the experimental device say to him, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you." Bell then wrote in his notebook,“ to my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said." Second words were, "to connect you to your party, please type the first 4 letters of the last name and push the # sign.  Then sit and listen to instrumental versions of  Olivia Newton John hits for 10 minutes. For all other questions, please hang up and hold your breath….”

            1891 –Tuesday- Speaking of telephones (see 1876), Almon Strowger, an undertaker in Topeka, Kansas, patented the Strowger switch, a device which led to the automation of telephone circuit switching.  Strowger actually developed the this first automated telephone switch out of electromagnets and hat pins. The Strowger switch consisted of essentially two parts: an array of 100 terminals, called the bank, that were arranged 10 rows high and 10 columns wide in a cylindrical arc; and a movable switch. How did it work? Strowger’s device consisted of buttons a caller tapped to signal the desired number to a central switch, and a rotating arm at the central switch that moved the caller’s line until it was in contact with the desired number. Strowger designed each unit to make a large number of lines available and to be combinable to scale dramatically without increasing complexity. The first automatic telephone exchange was installed in La Porte, Indiana in 1892.

            1893 – Friday- New Mexico State University, then called New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts cancelled its first graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, the only graduate, one  Sam Steele was robbed & killed while delivering milk the night before

             1902-Monday-  Win some, lose some; in the case of Edison v. American Mutoscope Company, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that despite his claims, Thomas Edison did not hold patent rights over all aspects of motion picture technology. The court did, however, rule that Edison invented the sprocket system that moved perforated film through the movie camera. This invention inspired the famous song, the Ballad of Davy Sprocket.

            1902 – Turkey is a dangerous place and requires lots of practice in standing in doorways during and earthquake.   Making plans for that vacation in the Turkish town of Tochangri?  Don’t bother, the entire town  was wiped out by an earthquake on this day. .  Still to come were:April 1903: Earthquake in city of Van, Turkey, kills 860. December 1939: Quake in Erzincan, Turkey, measuring 7.9, kills 40,000. March 1953: North-west Turkey is hit by an earthquake measuring 7.2, leaving 1,200 dead. August 1966: 2,520 die when eastern Turkey is hit by a quake measuring 6.9October 1983: About 1,300 are killed in an earthquake in eastern Turkey, measuring 6.9.October 1995: South-west Turkey is hit by an earthquake measuring 6. Eighty-four people die.June 1998: South-east Turkey is shaken by an earthquake measuring 6.3, which claims 144 lives.  We note that the the first building codes in Turkey were  not written until 1942

            1903 –Tuesday- On a sales trip to Cleveland, Harry C. Gammeter observed a stenographer repeatedly and Sisyphusiusly copying circular letters. Gammeter thought there had to be a better way and thought of a machine that would print a complete line or page of type with a single stroke. In 1900, he built his first crude model. He then famously demonstrated its feasibiliy to Henry C. Osborn of the Osborn-Morgan Co. consulting engineers. Osborn, said “copy” and then  designed, produced, and financed a duplicating machine based on the rotary drum principle which was patented on this date.

                1906-Saturday- In the event of something happening to me,
there is something I would like you all to see.
It's just a photograph of someone that I new.

Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones?
Do you know what it's like on the outside?
Don't go talking too loud, you'll cause a landslide, Mr. Jones.

I keep straining my ears to hear a sound.
Maybe someone is digging underground,
or have they given up and all gone home to bed,
thinking those who once existed must be dead.

Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones?
Do you know what it's like on the outside?
Don't go talking too loud, you'll cause a landslide, Mr. Jones. 
The Bee Gees…. An underground fired sparked a massive explosion resulting in a mine disaster that killed over 1,060 miners in Courrieres, France. Miraculously, fourteen miners were rescued after having been entombed in one of the mine shafts for twenty days. The “Courrières catastrophe”, in the cobweb of mineshafts below the villages, was preceded by a lot of smoke and the detection of toxic gases in the mine in the days prior to the explosion. The company was warned by a union delegate, but refused to stop production. The company called off the rescue operation after only three days and walled up access to where the miners were trapped, in order to protect the remaining coal-faces from potential fire. On  March 30- TWENTY days after the fire started - 13 miners emerged through another tunnel to the light of day, without any outside help. A final survivor was found on 14 April, thanks to a group of volunteer German mine-safety workers, again with no help from the company.

            1923 –Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Val Logsdon Fitch, American particle physicist who was co-recipient with James Watson Cronin of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1980. They won for  an experiment conducted in 1964 that disproved the long-held theory that particle interaction should be indifferent to the direction of time. How dare a particle reaction be indifferent to the direction of time!  None of us are indifferent to the direction of time!  Whither goest particle interactions?  Interactions fall into three groups: strong, electromagnetic, and weak.  Because of interactions, an isolated particle may decay into other particles. Two particles passing near each other may transform, perhaps into the same particles but with changed momenta (elastic scattering) or into other particles (inelastic scattering).

            1926 –Wednesday- Back in the days when people actually used to read books, Lolly Willowes, or The Loving Huntsman, by eccentric English novelist Sylvia Townsend Warner the first Book-of-the-Month Club selection,  was published by Viking Press. Harry Scherman’s Book-of-the-Month-Club operating premise was that most book lovers do not read as many books as they intend to. By agreeing to purchase at least four books a year, club members could choose a hand-picked group of books that they would receive by mail. The concept was immediately popular. By December 1926 the company had net sales of over half a million dollars. Membership approached 100,000 by 1928.

            1940 - I Pagliacci by Ruggiero Leoncavallo was the first opera broadcast on television. The Metropolitan Opera Company of New York City performed a "condensed" version of this opera over station W2XBS. Performing from a Radio City studio, the cast included tenors Armand Tokatyan/Alessio de Paolis, baritones Richard Bonelli and George Cehanovsky, and soprano Hilda Burke, and a cameo appearance by Clay Aiken. The performance was conducted by Francis St. Leger.

            1941 –Monday-  On August 16, 1920, New York Yankee pitcher Carl Mays hit Cleveland Indians’ shortstop, Ray Chapman in the head with a pitch. Chapman went kaput. Over twenty years later, the first use of batting helmets in the majors was trotted out by the 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers on this day. Two of the Dodgers, outfielder, Joe “Ducky”  Medwick and shortstop, Harold “Pee Wee” Reese, had suffered severe beanings, so General Manager Larry MacPhail made the entire team wear protective helmets. Those helmets were based on jockeys' helmets, and were much like a normal baseball cap with a hard liner. The first helmet that generally resembled the modern design was developed at the behest of Pittsburgh Pirates manager Branch Rickey in the 1950s and made mandatory for all batters in 1956.

            1948-Wednesday-  The body of the anti-Communist foreign minister of Czechoslovakia, Jan Masaryk, was found in the garden of Czernin Palace in Prague just two weeks after the Communists had taken over the country.  The Communists claimed it was suicide via jumping from a window. And perhaps you’d like to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?

            1948-Wednesday-  And on the same day that Jan Masaryk discovered he could not fly,  Herbert Hoover – no, not the former President- became the first civilian pilot to exceed the speed of sound when he flew a Bell X-1 research aircraft at Edwards AFB, California. Air Force pilot, Chuck Yeager had made the first supersonic flight on Oct. 14, 1947.  Hoover was a test pilot working for NACA (the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, the predecessor of today's NASA).  What’s the sound barrier?  At sea level it's 761 mph. At 20,000 meters it's 660 mph. At 29,000 meters it's 673 mph (altitude of Yeager's flight). In an apartment building it’s the wall or ceiling that does not protect you from blaring music, loud fights, and people who vacuum bare floors at 4:00 a.m.

                1959 –Tuesday- Fearing an abduction attempt by those lovable communists in China, 300,000 Tibetans surrounded the Dalai Lama's palace to prevent his removal. China has ruled Tibet since 1951. A year earlier it had sent troops into the Himalayan nation, ostensibly to free it ( ha ha ha) from the Buddhist theocracy that the communists claimed had enslaved its population, not that the communists would ever enslave a population, would they?

            1964 –Tuesday-  I bought you a brand new mustang 'bout nineteen sixty five
Now you come around signifying a woman, you don't wanna let me ride.
Mustang Sally, think you better slow your mustang down.
You been running all over the town now.
Oh! I guess I'll have to put your flat feet on the ground.
All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride.
All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride.
All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride……
Wilson Pickett……The first Ford Mustang was produced on this day. The car  wasn't released to the public until April 16, 1964. The “Pony Car” was an idea from the young vice-president at Ford, Lee Iacocca. He was asked to bring back the two-seater Thunderbird which Ford had stupidly expanded into a hideous monstermobile.  In 1962 he built the Mustang I-prototype, a V4 two-seater. However, Ford specified that the car would have to be a four-seater. In 1963 the Mustang II show car was riding at the American Grand Prix. In order to keep production costs down, many of the Mustang's components were "borrowed" from the lamentable Ford Falcon

            1972 –Friday- Forgettable moments in the career of Academy Award winner Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend) with the premier of Frogs. Co-starring the ubiquitous Sam Eliot and Joan Van Ark, the cinematic masterpiece featured the tag lines; “Cold green skin against soft warm flesh...a croak...a scream and Millions of slimy bodies squirming everywhere! Millions of gaping mouths devouring... devouring... devouring”.  That same year, Ray also starred in The Thing With Two Heads in which his head was placed on a body along with the head of former football star, Roosevelt Grier.

             1977- The rings of Uranus (remember, the pronunciation is "yoor an us" NOT "your anus") were discovered by the  Voyager space craft. There were nine rings  and during the Voyager encounters, these rings were photographed and measured, as were two other new rings and ringlets. Uranus' rings are distinctly different from those at Jupiter and Saturn. The outermost epsilon ring is composed mostly of ice boulders several feet across. A very tenuous distribution of fine dust also seems to be spread throughout the ring system.  None of the rings are diamond, several are cubic zirconia, one is a friendship ring and another is a pinky ring, also known as the “Soprano’s ring”.

            1979 Saturday- Conspicuous moments at the Grand Ole Opry.  At the invitation of country star Porter Wagoner, James Brown performed at the hallowed Country music venue in Nashville. Brown sang Hank Williams’ Your Cheatin' Heart, King and Stewart’s Tennessee Waltz and  his own Papa's Got A Brand New Bag.

            1982- Wednesday- A syzygy (save that one for scrabble) occurred when all nine planets aligned on the same side of the Sun. The planets were spread out over 98 degrees on this date with the four gaseous giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, spanning an arc of some 73◦.

             1985- At one time, the world‘s longest underground tunnel, the Seikan Tunnel  was completed in Japan.  It is in total 53.9 km (33.4 miles) long and has 23.3 km (14.5 miles) under the sea. Since longest, largest, tallest, etc. are constantly being surpassed, when the Gotthard Base tunnel was fully constructed in Switzerland, it would be the longest underground tunnel in the world.  The world's longest road tunnel is the Lærdal, a 24.5-kilometer (15.3-mile) tunnel in Norway opened in 2000. Engineers couldn't use a tunnel boring machine (too bad they didn’t watch American television, there is no shortage of boring machines there) to carve the Seikan Tunnel because the rock and soil beneath the Tsugaru Strait was random and unpredictable. Instead, tunnel workers painstakingly drilled and blasted all 33 miles through a major earthquake zone to link the main Japanese island of Honshu with the northern island of Hokkaido. Residual fallout from the blasting caused the dread disease Pompus Poofus Ad Nauseum, resulting in endless navel contemplation by panelists on Sunday morning “news” shows.

            1994 –Thursday- And the sign said, "Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray"
But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all,
I didn't have a penny to pay
So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign
I said, "Thank you, Lord, for thinkin' 'bout me.
I'm alive and doin' fine."
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Sign Sign, sign……
.Five Man Electrical Band……..The number one song on the Billboard Charts was The Sign by Ace of Base of Gothenberg, Sweden. This was the #1 song of 1994 according to Billboard magazine's year-end charts. It was also Arista Record's most successful Billboard chart single in the label's history, selling over nine million copies in America.

            1997-Monday-  Another landmark in the march of civilization as Buffy the       Vampire Slayer made it’s television debut.  Sarah Michelle Gellar starred as            Buffy Summers, The Chosen One, the one girl in all the world with the strength            and skill to fight the vampires.  As  tells us about the first episode,         “Welcome to Hellmouth,  Buffy Summers is the Slayer, but after being      expelled from her old high school for burning down the gym (it was full of             vampires) she just wants to forget about her destiny and be a normal sixteen-     year-old girl. She and her mother move from L.A. to Sunnydale, California. A      new school, new friends, and a chance to start over.  But Sunnydale is on top of a            Hellmouth -- a center of mystical convergence that draws evil and demonic        forces”  --……sort of like the New York State Legislature.

            2006 –Friday-  The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived at Mars. On a two-year     mission to study the Martian atmosphere and surface, and search for water,  it           pulled off a dangerous and tricky maneuver known as "orbit insertion" and began      circling the red planet.  While other Mars missions, such as the Mars Exploration         Rovers, have shown that water once flowed across the surface, MRO was on a             search for evidence that water persisted on the surface long enough to provide a      habitat for life.  And in fact it did find life.  And that bizarre life form has             migrated to Earth.  We know this parasitical life form as Attornicus Sleazicus   Broadcasticus, lawyers who advertise on television.



105 A.D-Wednesday-"Ts’ai Lun, take a note" - Ts'ai Lun invented paper.  It was made  from bamboo, mulberry, and other fibers, along with fish nets and rags. He lived and served as an official at the Chinese Imperial Court at the Han Dynasty in China. In the West at that time, books were made of sheepskin or calfskin.  In or about the year 105 A.D., he presented Emperor Han Ho Ti with samples of paper. Chinese records do mention and credit Tsai, Lun with the invention of paper.

            1387 –Sunday- The Battle of Castagnaro between Padua on one side and Venice and Verona on the other. Francesco de Carrara, lord of Padua, hired a large mercenary army, and put the English rogue and condottiere,  Sir John Hawkwood, in charge.. Hawkwood's victory was complete. Close to five thousand prisoners were taken, including the entire Veronese artillery and their camp. From 1359 Hawkwood led a mercenary cadre, called  the White Company in Europe, particularly Italy. You would need a score card to keep track of his confusing  number of masters in the wars between Italy's city states, the papacy, and various foreign interlopers. Everyone kept switching sides and the objective of mercenaries was to avoid battles since battles meant dead mercenaries and a smaller, less intimidating army.  In 1377 he entered the service of Florence and remained fairly loyal until he retired. One of the secrets to Hawkwood’s success, in addition to being an outstanding military commander, was his refusal to pay his mercenaries until the war or battle was over.

            1513 –Tuesday- Giovanni de' Medici, thirty-eight years old, was elected pope. He chose the name Leo X.  The second son of Lorenzo de Medici, Il Magnifico, young Giovanni was the Mozart of prelates becoming a priest at age seven and becoming a Cardinal at the tender age of  thirteen years old.  As Pope, his combination of extravagance and neglect helped provoke the Reformation in the sixteenth century.  Pope Leo X was great supporter of the arts and sciences, he was a generous patron of Raphael, and helped make Rome a cultural center of the Renaissance, but at the expense of religion. Within two years of being pope, the church was broke and his plan to rebuild St. Peters led to the abuse of indulgences (selling God's forgiveness of sins to raise money). The sale of indulgences was one of the things that inspired  Martin Luther’s ' 95 theses (1517) and the Protestant Reformation. Leo X went kaput in 1521. He died suddenly in his palace during the night of Dec. 1, just a few days before his forty-sixth birthday. Many suspected he had been poisoned.

            1730-Saturday- Happy Birthday, Otto  Müller German-Danish biologist who liked itty bitty creatures. He concentrated on viewing bacteria. Bacteria had previously been seen only dimly by Leeuwenhoek in his microscope . Despite the limited resolution of the microscopes of his time, Müller was the first to see bacteria with sufficient clarity to divide them into categories, and introduced to the world the new animal kingdom of Infusoria. Some categories included, The Ones That Grow on Your Toothbrush, The Ones That Live on Shopping Cart Handles, The Ones that Live on the Processed Meat in the Questionably Sanitary Delicatessen, and The Ones That Will Mutate into Joseph Mugabe. In 1773, he was the first to describe diatoms. He also coined the terms baccilum and spirillum.  Of course we all know that the bacteria is the rear of the cafeteria…….right?

            1791-Friday-  Samuel Mulliken of Philadelphia, Pa. became the first person to receive more than one U.S. patent. The first patent was for a threshing machine for (sado-masochistic) corn and grain. On the same day he was granted three more patents: the first for breaking and swingling hemp (swingling means beating the fibers…..he seemed to like this of beating stuff); the second for cutting and polishing marble; and the third to raise the nap on cloths- which has nothing to do with sleeping or taking a nap. A fabric with nap is one what usually has a pile and will look different shades from different angles such a velvet and velour fabric.

            1811 –Monday-  Happy Birthday, Urbain-Jean-Joseph Leverrier,  French astronomer who predicted by mathematical means – no telescope!- the existence of the planet Neptune. Le Verrier calculated the position of Neptune from irregularities in Uranus's orbit. As one of his colleagues said, " ... he discovered a star with the tip of his pen, without any instruments other than the strength of his calculations alone”. Leverrier sent his predictions, which were similar to those of John C. Adams, English astronomer and mathematician, to the Urania Observatory in Berlin, Germany. Johann G. Galle listened to the young French mathematician, followed the calculations and  aon  Sept. 23, 1846, Galle found Neptune near the position predicted by Leverrier. Unfortunately, Leverrier did not rest on his laurels and went on to (wrongly) predict the existence of a planet, Vulcan, or asteroid belt, within the orbit of Mercury to account for a discrepancy in the motion in the perihelion of Mercury. As for John C. Adams? He completed his remarkably accurate work in September 1845. Adams sent it to Sir George B. Airy, the Astronomer Royal of England. However, Airy did not look for the planet with a telescope. Apparently, he lacked confidence in Adams.    

            1818-Wednesday- Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was published. The book, by 21-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley is frequently called the world's first science fiction novel as well as the first monster novel – no check that, we’ll go with Beowulf for first monster novel– as well as providing fodder for a mini-industry of dozens of movies, TV shows, books, cartoons and providing an explanation for the existence of Katie Couric.

            1818-Wednesday-  Same day as Frankenstein was published, Happy Birthday, Henri-Étienne Sainte-Claire Deville, French geologist and chemist who invented the first industrial process for producing aluminum.  He had been foiled in several earlier attempts. He also discovered the phenomenon of dissociation. Sainte-Claire Deville discovered nitrogen pentoxide, the anhydride of nitric acid. Friedrich Woehler, the German chemist, had discovered aluminum in 1827. Deville worked on the metallurgy of the metal, and devised the means of preparing it by decomposing aluminum sodium chloride with metallic sodium.

            1824 –Thursday-  Secretary of War John C. Calhoun in the United States War Department created the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Well that sure worked out well for the Indians. Calhoun appointed Thomas McKenney as the bureau's first head and instructed him to oversee treaty negotiations, manage Indian schools, and administer Indian trade, as well as handle all expenditures and correspondence concerning Indian affairs.

            1851 –Tuesday- The premier of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice.  The librettist was Francesco Maria Piave. The opera was based on Victor Hugo's play Le roi s'amuse.  Rigoletto is one of the best known of Verdi's works, with the Duke's La donna è mobile (Woman is fickle) the most famous of its arias
            1864 -Friday The Great Sheffield Flood, also known as the Great Inundation, devastated parts of Sheffield, England, when the Dale Dyke Dam broke.  The newly-built dam, at Low Bradfield on the River Loxley, broke while it was being filled for the first time. An estimated 3 million m³ (700 million imperial gallons) of water swept down the Loxley valley where it destroyed 800 houses, and killed 270 people - bodies were later found as far down the Don as Mexborough. The conclusion was that construction was defective, and that a small leak in the wall grew rapidly until the damned dam went kaput. Following a special Act of Parliament, compensation of £273,988 was paid for damage to property, injury to persons, and loss of life – one of the largest insurance awards of its time.

            1888-Sunday-  A sunny, spring-like day until later in the day………The “Blizzard of 88” – see March 12.

            1901- Monday-  The Cincinnati Enquirer reported the signing of a player named "Chief Tokohama" to baseball’s Baltimore Orioles by manager John McGraw. Chief Tokohama was later revealed to be Charlie Grant, an African-American second baseman. It was McGraw’s attempt to get an African American on to his team. He saw Black Americans as a great potential pool of talent, into major league baseball. Unfortunately, Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comisky discovered Grant’s identity and he was banned from the league. Grant returned to the Columbia Giants for the 1901 season.

            1918-Monday- The first cases of "Spanish Flu" in the U.S. were reported. It was the worst epidemic in American history, killing over 600,000 people- until it disappeared as mysteriously as it had begun. We still don’t know what started it and we still don’t know what ended it which is troubling. Worldwide, up to 40 million people died from the disease. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351.  The flu was most deadly for people ages 20 to 40. This pattern of morbidity was unusual for influenza which is usually a killer of the elderly and young children.

            1927  -Friday-  In America’s first armored car robbery, a group of bandits known as the Flathead Gang from Detroit blew up and robbed an armored Brinks truck and its "trail car" as the vehicles headed toward the nearby coal mine at Coverdale, near Pittsburgh,  to deliver cash for the weekly payroll.  In a scene of Keystone Cops like confusion, the main truck flipped and landed upside down. The second car fell into a crater left by the explosion. Everyone was shaken, but no one was killed. In the confusion, the crooks grabbed $104,000 and took off……but not for long. A day later, Paul Jaworski - who identified himself as John Smith - was caught in a farmhouse 30 miles south of the crime scene. He confessed, ratted out his accomplices, and even led the cops to $33,000 in buried loot.  Jaworski was the mastermind behind the heist and confessed to several murder-robberies. Eventually, he got the electric chair.

            1930 –Tuesday-  Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees signed a contract for $80,000.  When informed that he was now making more than the $75,000 paid to President Hoover, Ruth replied, “I had a better year than he did”.

            1948 – The New York City premiere of I Remember Mama. Starring Irene Dunn, Barbara Bel Geddes (of later Dallas fame), Edgar Bergen, Rudy Vallee, and Oscar Homulka and directed by George Stevens.  The heart warming comedy/drama I Remember Mama would be nominated for five Academy Awards. We mention this movie so that we can also mention I Dismember Mama, which premiered in 1972.  I Dismember Mama, strangely, was not nominated for any Academy Awards.  We did like the tagline (IMBd) “Haunting desires seething in his mind lead to a night of ghastly atrocities!”  Directed by Paul Leder and starring no one we ever heard of except Greg Mullavy, whom we have heard of but have no idea what he’s been in, the horror movie had a great title but that’s about it.

            1958 – Charles Van Doren finally lost on the hit game show, Twenty One, a quiz show based on Blackjack. The producers knew he would lose, Charlie knew he would lose, Vivienne Nearing, who beat him, knew he would lose.  The only ones who didn’t know were the millions watching on television. Van Doren, the Columbia professor would at the center of the quiz show scandals of the 1950s. He appeared before a congressional committee on November 2, 1959 to admit he'd been given questions and answers in advance when he appeared on Twenty One. Same thing was going on at The $64,000 Question, The $64,000 Challenge,: The Big Surprise, Dotto, and  Tic Tac Dough. Turned out it was Herbert Stempe, whom Van Doren had “defeated” who blew the whistle.  According to the Museum of Broadcasting, “the still bitter Stempel, Van Doren's former nemesis on Twenty One, told how he had taken a dive in their climatic encounter. The smoking gun was provided by an artist named James Snodgrass, who had taken the precaution of mailing registered letters to himself with the results of his appearances on Twenty One predicted in advance. Most of the high-drama match-ups, it turned out, were as carefully choreographed as the June Taylor Dancers. Contestants were drilled in Q and A before airtime and coached in the pantomime of nail-biting suspense (stroke chin, furrow brow, wipe sweat from forehead). The lucky few who struck a chord with audiences were permitted a good run before a fresh attraction took their place; the patsies were given wrist watches and a kiss off.”

            1960 Friday-  Pioneer V was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and was planned to enter an orbit around the Sun between the Earth and Venus. Pioneer V provided a wealth of new data on interplanetary space including measurements of magnetic fields, cosmic radiation, electrical fields, and micrometeorites. It transmitted information until it went kaput three months later when it was 22.5 million miles from Earth. Some information revealed the presence on Earth of alien beings called Contractorus Procrastinaticus,  home contractors who never show up for work when they are supposed to.

            1970 -Wednesday - Oh the games people play now
Every night and every day now
Never meaning what they say now
Never saying what they mean
And they wile away the hours
In their ivory towers
Till they're covered up with flowers
In the back of a black limousine
La-da da da da da da da
La-da da da da da de
Talking 'bout you and me
And the games people play …….
The 12th Grammy Awards were held. They recognized accomplishments of musicians for the year 1969. So what was hot and who was hot in 1969?  Record of the year was Aquarius/Let the Sunshine from the Broadway musical, Hair.  Song of the year went to Games People Play by Joe South.  Best New Artists were Crosby, Stills and Nash. Best R & B, Aretha Franklin for Share Your Love With Me and…really…..this was a winner……trust us….. Best Spoken Word Recording, Art and Diane Linkletter for We Love You Call Collect

            1974 –Monday-  People were paid five cents to take away an album by Danny Bonaduce, talentless child actor from television’s The Partridge Family who became an adult piste kayleh.  In 1973 Bonaduce released a self-titled album. Bonaduce has admitted that his vocals can barely be heard on the album and that most of the singing was provided by Bruce Roberts. The album was apparently so awful that a record store, Rhino Store, in Los Angeles paid customers 5 cents to take home Bonaduce's album.

            1985-Monday-  Mikhail S. Gorbachev was chosen to succeed the late Soviet President Konstantin Chernenko as leader of the Soviet Union.

            1986 –Tuesday- Popsicles, icicles
Popsicles, icicles, hmmm
…..The Murmaids….Twin popsicles (two popsicles sticks together) were invented during the Great Depression. In devastating culinary news, Popsicle announced its plan to end the traditional twin-stick frozen treat for a one-stick model. Now millions of children and adults would be deprived of the delight timing the break and of breaking the two in half and having two popsicles to eat before they melted. Or, worse, pulling the two sticks apart and then having both ice pieces left of one stick while the other stick (usually the one in your left hand) was bereft of “sicle”. The Popsicle was invented in 1905 by eleven-year-old Frank Epperson. He originally named it Epsicle. He had left his fruit flavored soda outside on the porch with a stir stick in it. The drink froze to the stick and tasted good. It took 18 more years in 1923 for Epperson to apply for a patent for a "frozen ice on a stick" called the Epsicle ice pop, which his children re-named the Popsicle. In 1925, Frank Epperson sold his famous Popsicle to the Joe Lowe Company of New York. Good Humor (which is obviously humorless) now owns the rights to the Popsicle. Popsicle sticks were first made from Birch wood.

            1997- Tuesday-  Paul McCartney, a former member of the most successful rock band in history, The Beatles, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II . Asked where he wanted the ceremony to take place, McCartney replied “Why don’t we do it in the road”. Following the knighting, McCartney mounted the equinesque Princess Anne, grabbed a lance and challenged Prince Charles to a joust.

            1998 –Wednesday=  The International Astronomical Union, those same folks that de-planetized Pluto by demoting it to Dwarf Planet , issued an alert that said that a mile-wide asteroid could come very close to, and possibly hit, Earth on Oct. 26, 2028. The next day NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, basically calling it foo foo poppycock,  announced that there was no chance the asteroid would hit Earth. The IAU replied, “oh yeah? Well Pluto is still a dwarf planet so nyah nyah nyah.

            2004 –Thursday Islamic terrorists killed 191 people and wounded more than 2,000 people when  they exploded 10 bombs on four trains in three Madrid-area train stations during a busy morning rush hour. The bombs were later found to have been detonated by mobile phones.

            2007-Sunday (2 a.m)  Big change this year as  in the U.S., Daylight Saving Time began three weeks earlier than in previous years. It was reset by Congress, in their unending quest to confuse and confound the American people, in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed into law by President Bush on 8/8/2005. The Act set the change to DST to begin three weeks earlier, on the second Sunday of March, and end a week later on the first Sunday of November. When it was first introduced in the U.S., on  March 31, 1918, the U.S. first began daylight saving time on Easter Sunday, when clocks were set ahead by one hour. The concept was introduced earlier in Great Britain during WWI as a coal-conserving measure

            2009 –Wednesday-  In a blow to mystery writers, scientists in Yellowstone Park found an alga that detoxifies arsenic.  Drink some arsenic poison in your tea? “Quick, get me a glass of algae from Yellowstone”. The algae -- a simple one-celled algae called Cyanidioschyzon thrives in extremely toxic conditions and chemically modifies the arsenic that occurs naturally around hot springsy. On a more realistic level, Cyanidioschyzon could someday help reclaim arsenic-laden mine waste and aid in everything from space exploration to creating safer foods and herbicides, the scientists said.



538 –Wednesday-  Witiges, king of the Ostrogoths ended his siege of Rome having decided that the lines to get into the Vatican Museum and the Coliseum were just too long, and retreated to Ravenna, where there were shorter lines for Dante’s Tomb. None of these Goths died their hair black or listened to Korn.  The Ostrogoths (Low Latin Ostrogothae,"the eastern Goths") inhabited a large kingdom east of the Dniester River on the shores of the Black Sea (part of modern Ukraine and Belarus). The Visigoths (Low Latin Visigothi,"the good Goths" or "the noble Goths") were the western Goths, with a domain extending from the Dniester to the Danube rivers. With Witibes departure, Rome was left in the hands of the victorious Roman general, Belisarius.  

            1507 – Caesare Borgia kaput.  Borgia had lost his power and his power base with the death of his father, Pope Alexander VI.  He made his way to Navarre, the kingdom of his brother-in-law Jean d'Albret. After French King Louis XII had refused to restore Cesare's French estates, Cesare joined d'Albret in fighting Louis's attempt to gain control of Navarre at the siege of Viana.  Borgia was killed as he led a charge into the castle.  Too bad he was the only one in the charge.  His men were not behind him. He was thirty one years old.  Caesare first child of Vanozza de' Catanei and Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, then archbishop of Valencia. They later had three other children: Giovanni, Lucrezia, and Goffredo.

             1664-Wednesday-  New Jersey became a British colony as King Charles II granted land in the New World to his brother James, the Duke of York. The same York after which New Netherland became New York. This James would also become James II who was de-throned in the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688. New Jersey? If King Charles knew about the traffic on the U.S 80, the back ups at the Holland Tunnel, or some of the Democrats who would be elected Governor, he might have insisted they leave it a swamp.

            1784-Friday Happy Birthday, William Buckland, English pioneer geologist and minister, known for his effort to reconcile geological discoveries with the Bible and anti-evolutionary theories.  Darwin thought of him as a buffoon.  He was quite eccentric.  According to Bill Bryson, he had a goal of “eating his way through every animal in creation”.  Guests at his house feasted on guinea pig, mice (in batter),  hedgehogs, and boiled Southeast Asian slug.

            1824-Friday Happy Birthday, Gustav R. Kirchov, German physicist. He is famous for his work with the spectroscope in association with R. W. Bunsen, (who was burning with curiosity)  with whom he discovered the elements cesium- “we have come to praise cesium….not barium” and rubidium, and for his explanation of the Fraunhofer lines in the solar spectrum. Why Fraunhofer couldn’t explain his own lines, we’re not sure. Kirchov also did important research in electricity and thermodynamics.

            1831-Saturday- Happy Birthday, Clement Studebaker,  American manufacturer who founded a family company that became the world's largest producer of horse-drawn vehicles and post 1900, a leader in automobile manufacturing. Those of us who remember the bullet shaped back of the late 40s-early 50’s Studebakers may still miss it.  After the company’s late 1950’s Avanti failed to revive interest and sales, Studebaker went the way of the dodo. Extinct….kaput.

            1832 -Monday Happy Birthday, Charles Boycott, real estate agent who refused to lower rents and served eviction notices instead. Tenants refused to deal with him; in other words, they "boycotted" Boycott making his name a part of the English language.  In September 1880, his protesting tenants demanded that Captain Boycott give them a substantial reduction in their rents. He refused. Charles Stuart Parnell, the great Irish parliamentarian and nationalist and also the President of the Land League, suggested in a speech that the way to force Boycott to give way was for everyone in the locality to refuse to have any dealings with him. Laborers would not work for him, local shops stopped serving him (food had to be brought in from elsewhere for him and his family), and he even had great trouble getting his letters delivered. In the end, his crops were harvested that autumn through the help of fifty volunteers from the north of the country, who worked under the protection of nine hundred soldiers. The events aroused so much passion that his name became an instant byword. It was first used - in our modern sense of collective and organized ostracism - in the Times of London in November 1880.

            1832 – Monday- Sharing the same birthday as Charles Boycott, Happy Birthday, Charles Friedel, French organic chemist and mineralogist who, with the American chemist James Mason Crafts, discovered in 1877 the chemical process known as the Friedel-Crafts reaction. Professor Sy Yentz has no idea of what it is but evidently it has nothing to do with allergies or rashes. A Friedel-Crafts reaction is a substitution reaction, catalyzed by aluminum chloride in which an alkyl (R) or an acyl (RCO) group replaces a hydrogen atom of an aromatic nucleus to produce hydrocarbon or a ketone.  Basically, it represents a powerful and effective way to introduce new carbon-carbon bonds into aromatic compounds or make anchovy pizza.

            1835 –Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Simon Newcomb, American astronomer,  born in Nova Scotia. Newcomb used carefully analyzed measurements of stellar and planetary positions to compute motions of the sun, moon, planets, and their satellites. He measured the speed of light and the constant of precession. His values for the fundamental constants of astronomy were used by the world’s almanac makers for decades. He provided important guidance on the construction of the world’s largest telescopes and his African American brother, Don Newcomb pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s.

            1838-Monday-  Happy Birthday, William Perkin, inventor of artificial dye. Prior to this all dyes came from natural sources. As with many of the discoveries of science he set out to do one thing and ended up discovering another.  When he was eighteen he wanted to make quinine (C20H24N2O2) by oxidizing allytoluidine (C10H12N) so naturally he accidentally produced instead the first ever synthetic dye, aniline purple, better known as mauveine. His father invested in his efforts to manufacture the dye. It went on sale in 1857, and it became popular in France.  The “dye was cast”.

            1841 –Friday- In America, Orlando Jones was awarded U.S. patent #2000 for a process that used alkali to speed up starch making. The process was soon applied to corn.  starch. Before this invention, starch had been made from potatoes, maize, and wheat ; starch made from wheat is the oldest known process, for Pliny mentions it in his Natural History two centuries ago.Starch has been around for a while, Egyptian Pharaohs (well actually the slaves prepared it for them)  and wealthy nobility used starch derived from various grains (corn had not yet been discovered) in cosmetics and as an adhesive to hold papyrus pages together. The  Romans used it to keep their togas crisp and white (for toga parties).  Cornstarch is a dense powdery flour-like substance that is used in baking and as a thickening agent for puddings, sauces, and soups. Grinding the white heart of a corn kernel makes the starch. Corn starch is particularly helpful in the creation of Oobleck – see Dr. Seuss, March 2. In the late 20th century Orlando Jones became an African American actor and comedian notable for being one of the original cast members of the sketch comedy series MADtv.

                1863 –Thursday- Happy Birthday, Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, Russian geochemist and mineralogist who is considered to be one of the founders of geochemistry and biogeochemistry. Geochemistry is the study of the chemical composition of the earth's crust and the changes which takes place within it. Biogeochemistry is branch of geochemistry that is concerned with biologic materials and their relation to earth chemicals in an area; the science studying changes in the earth's chemical constituents as mediated by living organisms such as bacteria or sixteen year old girl singers.

            1888- Monday- The “Blizzard of 88”. March 11 had spring temperatures, birds were singing, people were out walking…….  By the morning of the 12th, it was 5° and within 36 hours over 60” of snow had fallen…this seems to be what the city of Buffalo NY gets on an average day…..  The damage came from gale force winds that reached 60 MPH and left snowdrifts as high as 10’ to 20’.

            1894-Monday- The first bottles of Coca-Cola were sold. Coca-Cola was invented by Dr. John Pemberton, an Atlanta pharmacist who created the formula in a three legged brass kettle in his backyard on May 8, 1886.  He mixed a combination of lime, cinnamon, coca leaves, and the seeds of a Brazilian shrub to make this appealing (?) drink. Carbonated water was introduced later to make the beverage as we now know it. Remember, Coca-Cola was originally used as a nerve and brain tonic and a medical elixir. The very first Coke bottles were Hutchinson style bottles- they were blue and had a stopper at the top.  In case you were wondering, cans of Coke first appeared in 1955.

            1903 –Thursday- At a peace summit to unite the two Baseball leagues under similar rules, and establish the World Series, AL President Ban Johnson announced he wanted a team in New York. Johnson got 15 of the 16 Major League owners to agree. The lone dissenter was John T. Bush owner of, surprise,  the New York Giants. Johnson arranged for  Frank Farrell and Bill Devery to buy the struggling Baltimore Orioles and move them to Manhattan. The two new owners quickly secured a piece of land on Broadway between 165th and 168th street and then built a ballpark known as Hilltop Park. Since the stadium sat on one of the highest points in Manhattan the nickname Highlanders was chosen as the new club's name.  That first year was a success for New York, as they would finish a respectable 72-62 under Hall of Fame Manager Clark Griffith.

The team officially changed its name to the New York Yankees in 1913, and went on to become the most dominant franchise in American sports.

            1912-Tuesday-  Not to be outdone by the Boy Scouts, founded in England in 1907-08, created by General Robert Baden-Powell. Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Guides, which later became the Girl Scouts of America.  The first meeting was in Savannah, Georgia. Daisy Gordon, her niece, was the first registered member.

            1922-Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Jack Kerouac, born Jean-Louis Kerouac in Lowell, Massachusetts, American author of On the Road (1957).  Kerouac became the symbol of what was then called the “beat generation” which begat beatniks, which begat hippies, which begat generation x, which begat whatever will be new as long as it’s changed from the old. On the Road was a unique book, as Kerouac decided write about his cross-country trips exactly as they had happened, without pausing to edit, fictionalize or even reflect. He presented the resulting manuscript to his editor on a single long roll of unbroken paper.  His editor, how shall we put it, was not particularly enthused with this brilliance and  Kerouac would suffer seven years of rejection before On The Road would be published.

            1923-Monday-  Happy Birthday Wally Schirra (brother of Kay Schirra Schirra), another of the original 7 American astronauts.  He flew on Mercury 8 in 1962 for 6 earth orbits, Gemini 6 in 1965- first rendezvous in space with Gemini 7- and on Apollo 7 in 1968. He was the only astronaut to fly all three of the types of space craft.

            1923 –Monday-  One of the pioneers of motion pictures, Dr. Lee DeForest  (brother of Gazinta DeForest) demonstrated his technique of putting sound on motion picture film.  This was the first movie sound track.  He called it “Phonofilm”. Music was recorded on a narrow strip at the edge of the film. The demonstration showed a man and woman dancing, four musicians playing instruments, along with an Egyptian dancer, all accompanied by music but no dialogue.  The first “sound” movie featuring music and dialogue (all 350 words of it) was The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson in 1927. DeForest also invented invented the audion, a vacuum tube device that could take a weak electrical signal and amplify it into a larger one. The audion helped AT&T set up coast-to-coast phone service, and it was also used in everything from radios to televisions to the first computers. 

            1928 –Monday-  Coming one day (see March 11, 1864) and sixty four years after the Sheffield England dam collapse, The St. Francis Dam, built by the Bureau of Water Works and Supply of the City of Los Angeles,   failed catastrophically upon its first filing, (same as the Sheffield Dam) near midnight on March 12, 1928, killing at least 450 people. It was the greatest American civil engineering failure in the twentieth century. The dam's 185-foot high concrete wall crumpled and collapsed, sending billions of gallons of raging flood waters down San Francisquito Canyon, about five miles northwest of Magic Mountain in what is now Santa Clarita.

            1933 –Friday-  Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first “fireside chat”.  Of course it was radio so we only have his word for it.  Could have been in the bathroom for all we know.  He explained his recent decision to close the nation's banks in order to stop a surge in mass withdrawals by panicked investors worried about possible bank failures. The banks would be reopening the next day, Roosevelt said, and he thanked the public for their "fortitude and good temper" during the "banking holiday."

            1938 –Saturday-The Anschuluss began as German troops crossed the border and occupied Austria. Adolf Hitler stood in his open car in his brown storm trooper uniform as he drove into Vienna. On March 13 he proclaimed the Anschluss and declared that Austria was now the Ostmark, a province of the Third Reich. Two weeks later, farshtinkener, Hermann Goering warned all Jews to leave Austria. A few days later came “weasel time” as Britain granted recognition to the new “Austrian” government; the U. S. granted recognition April 6.

            1944 -Sunday Eamon de Valera, Prime Minister of Ireland, rejected a request from the Roosevelt administration to close the German and Japanese embassies in Dublin to cut off the Axis spy network and shorten lines to visit the Blarney Stone. In response, the British government suspended all travel between the United Kingdom and Ireland on March 12th.

            1947 –Wednesday-  Juxtaposed with the wimpishness with which Europe and the U.S treated Hitler, (see Anschluss 1938 above also see Munich Conference) on this day. President Harry Truman announced the Truman Doctrine.  Truman announced that the United States would provide political, military and economic assistance to all democratic nations under threat from external or internal authoritarian forces. The Truman Doctrine effectively reoriented U.S. foreign policy, away from its usual stance of withdrawal from regional conflicts not directly involving the United States, to one of possible intervention in far away conflicts. The immediate cause for the speech was a recent announcement by the British Government that, as of March 31, it would no longer provide military and economic assistance to the Greek Government in its civil war against the Greek Communist Party. Truman asked Congress to support the Greek Government against the Communists.  He also asked Congress to provide assistance for Turkey, since that nation, too, had previously been dependent on British aid. We note that neither Greece nor Turkey were taken over by the Communists.

            1957- Sunday –Maybe baby, I'll have you
Maybe baby, you'll be true
Maybe baby, I'll have you for me
It's funny honey, you don't care
You never listen, to my prayer
Maybe baby, you will love me some day
Well you are the one that, makes me glad
Any other one that, makes me sad
When some day, you'll want me
Well, I'll be there, wait and see ee ee
Maybe baby, I'll have you
Maybe baby, you'll be true
Maybe baby, I'll have you for me**
Da da ta da da da da da da
Da da ta da da da da da da
Da da ta da da da da da da
Buddy Holly and the Crickets recorded the cha cha version of Maybe Baby. Why were some of Holly’s records listed as Holly and the Crickets and others as just the Crickets?  Glad you asked.  According to the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Buddy was restricted from recording any of the songs that were done under his contract with Decca. A name was needed in order to release the new version of That'll Be The Day. J.I. Allison searched through an encyclopedia under "Insects" in order to find a name for the band. They consider briefly, then discarded "The Beetles" before selecting "The Crickets". Over the next month, the band members of The Crickets come together: Buddy Holly, vocals and lead guitar; J.I. Allison, drums; Joe B. Mauldin, bass; and Niki Sullivan, rhythm guitar.

            1958 – The New York City premiere of Eugene O’Neill’s pay, Desire Under the Elms come to celluloid. The movie starred, Sophia Loren, Anthony Perkins, Burl Ives (who seems to have been in every Broadway drama turned movie in the late 50’s and early 60’s) and a pre-Bonanza Pernell Roberts. There were several unsuccessful sequels to the movie, notably; Affection Under the Birch, Hankering Under the Eucalyptus, Horniness Under the Oak, and Pining Under the Pine.

            1964 –Tuesday-  Hello Muddah, hello Fadduh,
Here I am at Camp Granada.
Camp is very entertaining,
And they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining.
I went hiking with Joe Spivey.
He developed poison ivy.
You remember Leonard Skinner.
He got ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner.
All the counselors hate the waiters,
And the lake has alligators.
And the head coach wants no sissies,
So he reads to us from something called Ulysses.
Now I don't want this should scare ya,
But my bunk mate has malaria………
The 6th annual Grammy Awards, for songs released in 1963, were held. So, what was hot in 1963 (pre Beatles)? Record of the Year  was The Days of Wine and Roses, by  Henry Mancini, Album of the Year  was The Barbra Streisand Album, Song of the Year was The Days of Wine and Roses, by  Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, Best New Artist of 1963 Swingle Singers (yes, the Swingle Singers), Best Performance By a Vocal Group was Blowin' in the Wind, by  Peter, Paul and Mary and Best Comedy Performance Hello Mudduh, Hello Faddah,  by Allan Sherman

            1974 – The pilot episode of Wonder Woman was broadcast on ABC. No, this was not the Lynda Carter, her costume and her…..  This was Cathy Lee Crosby as Wonder Woman. She no super powers, a modified costume, really now, ultimately it was all about the costume.  This particular Cathy Lee Crosby costume was described as a cross between a flight attendant and a gymnast. Fortunately, Lynda Carter was chosen to fill the role in  The New Original Wonder Woman a CBS version that debuted in 1975.    

            1987 –Thursday-  Les Misérables had its debut at the Broadway Theater on, yes, Broadway. Later, it would move to the Imperial Theater.  The play by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer would close in 2003 after 6,680 performances. Based on the Victor Hugo novel, it originally opened at the Barbican Theatre, London.

            1988-Saturday-  A hailstorm resulted in a soccer stampede at Nepal, Kathmandu, National Soccer Stadium. Seventy people died in the crush towards the locked exits. 

            2003 – Wednesday- The ever progressive, open minded Communist Chinese  government ordered the Rolling Stones to kaput four of their best-known hits from their landmark mainland shows scheduled for April. The band, which performed in Shanghai April 1 and in Beijing April 4, was not  allowed to play Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Women, Beast of Burden, or Let's Spend the Night Together, (shades of Ed Sullivan!)  The four songs, all of which include sexual references, and, gasp, Brown Sugar refered to interracial coupling. The Stones were asked to sing Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On, a medley of Michael Bolton hits, Vanilla Ice’s, Ice Ice Baby and anything by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

            2008 –Wednesday-  In one experiment on board Space Shuttle Endeavor (STS-123) launched early this morning (at 2:28 am EST), the reaction of terrestrial bacteria to zero-G was tested. When compared with test bacteria bred here on Earth, previous studies suggested that germs bred in space are far more potent and are more likely to cause illness to people in space. Evidence of this space germinated bacteria can be seen the disease of  Pizzaisticus Digustingus Not Badium – causing people to think that chain store pizza is actually good. The Endeavor mission would continue this experiment in the aim to find some way to prevent these microscopic astronauts from causing too many problems to the continuing missions on board the International Space Station and future space tourism companies. Until a solution is found, don't go ordering fish off the in-flight menu on your next spaceship ride… During the 16-day mission, the crew's two prime objectives were to deliver and attach to the ISS the first component of Japan's new laboratory called Kibo, as well as Canada's new robotics system, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, which resulted in the astronauts saying “eh” after every sentence. STS-123 was the 25th shuttle mission to the International Space Station


607 –Friday-
it smells like gas-o-line.
it tastes like vas-o-line.
It makes you vomit.
So buy some Comet, and vomit, today!
……Bus….The twelfth recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet. Of course back then it wasn’t Halley’s Comet since Halley didn’t discover it and predict its return until 1758–1759 just about every seventy six years.  Previous sightings of the comet include:  B.C 240, *164, 86, 11 and A.D 66, 141, 218, 295, 347, 451, 530.  The last perihelion passage of the comet was on February 9, 1986. In March 1986, six uncrewed spacecraft encountered Halley's Comet and produced data that have greatly enhanced the understanding of comets. The comet will return to its perihelion in 2061.

            1585-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Federico Cesi,  Italian scientist who founded the first modern scientific society in 1603. It was called the Accademia dei Lincei (Academy of Linceans or Lynxes).  The name came from Lynceus, the argonaut of Greek mythology renowned for his sharpness of sight. Its initial members were Cesi, the mathematician Francesco Stelluti, the physician Johannes Eck from the Low Countries, and the polymath (that’s a person of great and varied learning – like Professor Sy Yentz) Anastasio De Fillis. Galileo Galilei became the sixth member in 1611.  Obviously, the Academy of Lynxes did not have significant increases in membership each year.  When Galileo joined he learned the secret handshake, password, and got the secret tattoo of a test tube on his bicep. The induction ceremony featured everyone getting a new nickname, drinking to excess and then line dancing to Louie Louie. After Galileo's induction, the membership grew rapidly, and at its height the Lyncean Academy had 32 members, including many in foreign countries.

            1639-Sunday- Harvard University was named for minister John Harvard.  In 1636 the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony voted funds to establish the colony's first college and a year later chose Cambridge as the site. It was named for John Harvard, a young Charlestown clergyman who went kaput in 1638 and left an estate of about £1,600. In his will he directed that half his money, along with his collection of classical, theological literature, and his crayons be given to a school recently created in neighboring New Towne, which would  to be renamed Cambridge.  With the  school  founded in 1636, Harvard's gift assured its continued operation.

            1720 –Wednesday-  In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it………..
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet……………
…..Irving Berlin…..
Happy Birthday, Charles Bonnet, Swiss lawyer, philosopher and biologist.  He discovered parthenogenesis (reproduction without fertilization) in female aphids, also known as tree-lice, lant louse, greenfly, ant cow, or Paris Hilton.  Bonnet also demonstrated the regenerative ability of annelid worms, found that insects breathe through pores which he called stigmata, studied photosynthesis in plants and noted the emission of bubbles by a submerged illuminated leaf.  Charles Bonnett Syndrome (CBS) in which people, usually elderly, hallucinate seeing visitors from another planet, is named after him.  Bonnett was last seen accompanying Richard Dreyfuss onto the Mother Ship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  

            1733-Friday-  Happy Birthday, Joseph Priestly,  English chemist who discovered oxygen. Actually a few folks discovered oxygen (notably, Swedish scientist Carl Scheele) but failure to publish results or even being ignored. So,  Priestly gets the credit.  Priestly also discovered sulfur dioxide, silicon fluoride and ammonia. Of note is that Priestley's first scientific work, The History of Electricity (1767), was encouraged by Benjamin Franklin, whom he had met in London.

            1781-Tuesday-  Sir William Herschel accidentally discovered Uranus.  He thought he was tracking a comet. Uranus was the first planet to be discovered by using a telescope.  Remember, it's pronounced yoor an us.  Otherwise, your anus would be discovered by using a telescope. Herschel, was a great astronomer but left a lot to be desired in the naming department as he origninally named the planet Georgium Sidus, or the "Georgian Planet," in honor of  the loony King George III of England. However, German astronomer Johann Bode proposed the name "Uranus" for the planet in order to conform to the classical mythology-derived names of other known planets. Uranus, the ancient Greek deity of the heavens, was a predecessor of the Olympian gods. By the mid-19th century, it was also the generally accepted name of the seventh planet from the sun. The planet Uranus is a gas giant like Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune and is made up of hydrogen, helium, and methane. The third largest planet, Uranus orbits the sun once every 84 earth years and is the only planet to spin perpendicular to its solar orbital plane. So instead of North & South poles, it has East and West poles. In January 1986, the unmanned U.S. spacecraft Voyager 2 visited the planet, discovering 10 additional moons to the five already known, and even a  system of rings around Uranus. Voyager also identified Uranus as the birthplace of former Vice President, Spiro T. Agnew.

            1852 –Saturday- ''Uncle Sam'' drawn by  Frank Henry Bellew, made his debut as a cartoon character in the New York Lantern. Bellew worked as a caricaturist and illustrator for numerous publications including Yankee Notions, The Lantern, the New York Picayune, Nick-Nax, Vanity Fair, Harper's Weekly, Harper's Monthly, and Scribner's Monthly. Frank Bellew was born in India, the son of a British officer. After spending part of his youth in England and France, he moved to New York City in 1850

            1855-Tuesday- Happy Birthday, Percival Lowell, American astronomer who predicted the existence of the planet Pluto (later demoted to Dwarf Planet, Kuiper Belt Object) and initiated the search that ended in its discovery. His initials, P L were used by Clyde Tombaugh in the naming of the former planet, now Dwarf Planet. Unfortunately, Lowell spent most of his time obsessed with an idea that involved extraterrestrial canals (the “lines” on Mars) and an advanced Martian civilization.  He was also the founder of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Ideas about Mars bore fruit when it was discovered that many of the college students who attend “spring break” in Cancun are, in fact either from or descendents of immigrants from Mars.

            1868-Friday- The beginning of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in the senate. This was mainly a political trial over reconstruction strategies and who would control reconstruction – the Moderates or the Radical Republicans.  The senate had passed a Tenure of Office Act.  The act required that any office holder confirmed by the senate would need senate approval for removal.  Ignoring this, Johnson attempted to fire the momzer Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton. This was deemed grounds for impeachment. Following the House vote, the senate took 2 votes. Both times the vote was 35 for conviction and 19 for acquittal, with seven moderate Republicans joining12 Democrats in voting against what was a weak case for impeachment. Because both votes fell short of a 2/3 majority--by one vote—that of Senator Ross of Missouri (which earned him a chapter in John F. Kennedy’s book Profiles in Courage ) of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Johnson, he was acquitted and remained in office until March 1869 when Ulysses S. Grant became President.

            1877-Tuesday-    Fifteen year-old, Chester Greenwood invented ear muffs.  “Ears looking at you kid.”  Of course you can wear your muffs to the Ear-ster Parade. The story goes that while testing a new pair of ice skates, he grew frustrated at trying to protect his ears from the bitter cold. After wrapping his head in a scarf, which was too bulky and itchy, and made him look like a Russian peasant, he made two ear-shaped loops from wire and asked his grandmother to sew fur on them. He patented an improved model with a steel band which held them in place and with Greenwood's Champion Ear Protectors, he established Greenwood's Ear Protector Factory. He made a fortune supplying Ear Protectors to U.S. soldiers during World War I. In 1977, Maine's legislature declared the first day of winter, as the annual Chester Greenwood Day. His hometown of Farmington, Maine celebrates with a parade in early December, although, sadly, the Greenwood Ear Protector factory is now a laundry.  Greenwood also invented the bottom whistling kettle, the mechanical mouse trap, and the spring steel rake, among many others. He is listed on the Smithsonian Institution's list of America's 15 Outstanding Inventors.

            1881 –Sunday-  Czar Kaput. Czar Alexander II. The ruler of Russia since 1855, who had freed the serfs, was killed in St. Petersburg by a bomb thrown by a member of the revolutionary "People's Will" group.  This was a precursor to the “peasants” revolution of 1918 and the murders of Czar Nicholas II and his family.  Armed with bombs, four anarchists were deployed along the Czar's route (to and from the Winter Palace). The leader, Sophia Perovskaya stood at the site of a planned military parade. When they saw that the Czar was not going to drive over their mined street, they moved to alternate positions. The Czar's carriage was delayed, but at last it appeared. A 19-year-old student named Rysakov rushed forward and tossed a bomb. He was apprehended. The Czar cleverly climbed out of the carriage to determine what was going on. When he did, a  second man charged the Czar and there was another explosion. Both the Czar and his assassin, Ignaty Grinevitsky, were mortally wounded, and died a few hours later.

            1883-Tuesday- Happy Birthday, Clifford Milburn Holland, the American engineer who designed the 1.5-mile-long Holland Tunnel under the Hudson River, between New York City and Jersey City, NJ or vice versa.  Holland became chief engineer of the tunnel that would eventually bear his name in 1919. Tunnel construction began October 12, 1920 and was completed in 1927. Holland died one day before the construction crews from each side met in the middle. The first “squeegee men” appeared wiping windshields with dirty rags on the day it opened in 1927.

            1884-Thursday Greenwich Mean Time was established.   This was instituted by bad tempered scientists who wanted to replace Greenwich Nice Time. The Greenwich Meridian was chosen to be the Prime Meridian of the World. Forty-one delegates from 25 nations met in Washington DC for the International Meridian Conference. By the end of the conference, Greenwich had won the prize of Longitude 0º by a vote of 22 in favor to 1 against (San Domingo), with two abstentions (France and Brazil). There were two main reasons for the victory. One, the US had already chosen Greenwich as the basis for its own national time-zone system. And 2nd, at the time, 72% of the world's commerce depended on sea-charts which used Greenwich as the Prime Meridian. The decision, essentially, was based on the argument that by naming Greenwich as Longitude 0º, it would inconvenience the least number of people.

            1884 – Thursday- The beginning of the siege of Khartoum, the capital of the Sudan, by al-Mahdī and his army. The city, which was defended by an Egyptian garrison under the British general Charles George (“Chinese”) Gordon, was captured, and its defenders, including Gordon, were slaughtered. The attack caused a storm of public protest against the alleged inaction of the British government under William Gladstone. Gordon, in a shining example of timing is everything, had just arrived on February 18.

            1899-Monday- Happy Birthday, John Hasbrouck Van Vleck, American physicist who is regarded as the founder of the modern quantum mechanical theory of magnetism. In 1977, together with Nevill Mott and Philip Anderson, he shared the Nobel Prize for physics for “fundamental theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems.” Presumably the “disordered systems” were not state legislatures.

            1915 – Saturday- Brooklyn Dodger manager, Dodger manager Wilbert Robinson, (Uncle Robbie) thinking he was  going to catch a baseball dropped from a plane, was surprised and splattered when the sphere turned out to be a grapefruit. The soggy skipper managed the Dodgers from 1914 to 1937, winning pennants in 1916 and 1920.  And why was Robinson catching objects from a plane?  He vowed to outdo Chicago Cub, Gabby Street's stunt of catching a ball dropped from the Washington Monument. He would catch a ball dropped from an airplane.  The stunt was set up, but someone (many say it was Casey Stengel) substituted a grapefruit, which exploded on impact.  With his eyes shut and his chest wringing wet, Robinson believed himself covered with his own blood until he heard his team laughing.

            1930-Thursday- Having discovered the former planet now Dwarf Planet Pluto on February 18, Clyde Thombaugh announced his discovery on this day.  The former planet now Dwarf Planet was officially named on May 24, 1930.  The discovery caused a world-wide sensation.  It was the first planet to be discovered in the 20th century.  Of course thanks to the IAU it is now a Dwarf Planet which would minimize the sensation. NYC police have noted that a fortune telling dwarf has escaped from custody and they are searching for a small medium at large.

            1933 –Monday- (Gonna find her)
(Gonna find her)
(Gonna find her)
(Gonna find her)
Yeah, I've been searchin'
A-a searchin'
Oh, yeah, searchin' every which a-way
Yeah, yeah
Oh, yeah, searchin'
I'm searchin'
Searchin' every which a-way
Yeah, yeah
But I'm like the Northwest Mounties
You know I'll bring her in someday
(Gonna find her)
(Gonna find her)
………Happy Birthday, Mike Stoller of the song writing team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. A member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, it was said of  Leiber and Stoller, "If Elvis Presley was the king of rock and roll, then Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were certainly two of the most important powers behind the throne." The pair wrote the incredibly successful and indelible Presley hits. Hound Dog, (originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton)  Love Me, Loving You, Don't, and Jailhouse Rock.  Then, just for starters, they also wrote, Searchin, Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown, and Poison Ivy, for the Coasters. Then, Stand By Me, Spanish Harlem and I (Who Have Nothing), by Ben E. King; (post Drifters), On Broadway, Dance With Me and Drip Drop by The Drifters- to make up for Ben E. King leaving?- (covered by  Dion DiMucci) ; LaVern Baker's Saved and Ruth Brown's Lucky Lips. Also, there were other Leiber and Stoller hits, including Love Potion #9, by The Clovers, Only In America  by Jay and The Americans, I Keep Forgettin, by Chuck Jackson, Wilbert Harrison's Kansas City, The Drifters' There Goes My Baby and Fools Fall In Love,  and Ruby Baby by the post Belmonts, Dion DiMucci.

            1935 –Wednesday-  The discovery of the of the Lachish Letter- eighteen ostraca (clay tablets with writing in ink) written in an ancient Hebrew script, from the 7th century BC revealed  important information concerning the last days of the southern kingdom of Judah.  They were discovered at Lachish (Tell ed-Duweir) among the ruins of an ancient guard room just outside the Lachish city gate and confirm narratives written in the Bible by the prophet Jeremiah.

            1939 Monday- Oh, Carol, I am but a fool
Darling, I love you tho' you treat me cruel
You hurt me and you made me cry
But if you leave me I will surely die
Darling, there will never be another
'Cause I love you so
Don't ever leave me
Say you'll never go
I will always want you for my sweetheart
No matter what you do
Oh, Carol, I'm so in love with you
  Happy Birthday, Neil Sedaka, Brooklyn born singer and song writer. His biggest hits, included Oh Carol, written about his long-term friend and fellow Brill Building singer-songwriter Carol King.  King recorded an answer song Oh Neil which was absolutely awful.  There was also The Diary, Calendar Girl, Next Door to an Angel and, Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen. Sedaka’s most enduring and well-known tune, however, remains Breaking Up is Hard to Do, a great cha cha dance record which reached number 1 in 1962.

                1947 –Thursday- “Once in the Highlands, the Highlands of Scotland, two weary hunters lost their way”… Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon opened on Broadway.  With choreography by Agnes DeMille and great love songs like, I'll go home with Bonnie Jean and Almost like being in love, Brigadoon ran for 581 performances, numerous revivals, and a miscast Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse (as a Scottish lass no less)  in a 1954 movie version.

                1954 – Saturday- In February, 1954, Scottish born Bobby Thompson, who hit the “shot heard round the world” to win the pennant for the 1951 New York Giants, had been traded to the Milwaukee Braves – just transplanted from Boston. On this day, Thompson broke his leg during an exhibition game against the Yankees.  He was replaced by rookie Henry Aaron.

                1958 –Thursday-  The Long Hot Summer, starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and Orson Welles, opened in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Newman, would win the Cannes Film Festival award as Best Actor for his performance in the film. He also won co-star Woodward as the two would be married. Based on two William Faulkner short stories and directed by Martin Ritt, the movie also starred Anthony Franciosa, Lee Remick, and  Angela Lansbury. In yet another demonstration of the good taste and respect for classics of  the geniuses in “Hollywood”, The Long Hot Summer was re-made as a television movie in 1985 starring, gasp, Don Johnson.  

            1961 –Monday- I'm a travelin' man
I've made a lot of stops all over the world
And in every port I own the heart
Of at least one lovely girl ……
Ricky Nelson became Rick Nelson and recorded Travelin’ Man on Imperial Records. The song, written by Jerry Fuller who also wrote Young World for Nelson,  would be released on May 1, 1961 – the same date that the Shirelles released Mama Said.

            1968 –Friday-  A sudden outbreak of sheep deaths in Skull Valley, Utah, was attributed to a nerve gas sprayed earlier by the Army on the nearby Dugway Proving Grounds. The army, at first (of course) denied all knowledge but then "sheepishly" admitted it. Residual effects of the gas resulted in the annoying disease of  Decibulis Highus Cellphonicus Musicium Ringerorus Execreblus, which forces the rest of us to listen to your stupid music when your stupid cell phone “rings”.

            1969–Thursday- Disney’s The Love Bug opened. With the tagline of “ Herbie Will Honk His Way Into Your Heart”….really, who could resist that?.....the movie about a struggling race car driver (Jeff Gordon?) who begins winning races once he starts driving “Herbie”, a Volkswagen Beetle.  The movie starred Disney regular, Dean Jones, Michele Lee, Buddy Hackett, popular foil, Joe Flynn (McHale’s Navy), “ooh ooh”, Joe E. Ross (Car 54 Where Are You) and a cameo by Jock Mahoney (Yancy Derringer). Unable to leave well enough alone, Disney inflicted several Love Bug spawn on the movie going public.  Herbie Rides Again,…..1974 Dean Jones was MIA but with Mayberry RFD’s Ken Berry and Stephanie Powers but with Huntz Hall playing a judge. Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, 1977 – Dean Jones was back along with Don Knotts and Julie Sommars. Herbie Goes Bananas- 1980 with Cloris Leachman, Charles Martin Smith, John Vernon (pre Animal House), and Harvey Korman. Then,  Herbie: Fully Loaded- 2005 with, really – we don’t make this up- Lindsay Lohan (!!!!), Michael Keaton (presumably desperate for work), Matt Dillon (see Michael Keaton), and Cheryl Hines of the Larry David Show.  A five-episode TV series, Herbie the Matchmaker, aired on CBS in the United States in the spring 1982. In 1997, there was a made-for-television sequel which included a Dean Jones cameo, tying it to the previous films.

            1969 –Thursday Apollo 9 returned to Earth. Obviously, James R. McDivitt, commanderDavid R. Scott, command module pilot and Russell. L. Schweikart, lunar module pilot returned so they could watch the Love Bug (see above). Launched on March 3, the Apollo 9 mission was the first manned flight of all Apollo lunar hardware in Earth orbit and first manned flight of the lunar module. Lunar module pilot Russel L. Schweickart performed a 37 minute EVA. Human reactions to space and weightlessness were tested in 152 orbits. Microbes attached to craft returned to Earth, mutated and caused the disease Moroniucus Purchasium Cursorius which results in people who actually buy a cursor from a pop up when they are visiting a website.

             1971-Saturday-  Explorer 43, an unmanned satellite was launched.  It  studied cislunar environment during a  period of decreasing solar activity. Of course you knew that cislunar environment is the region between Earth's atmosphere and the Moon.  It is the birthplace of Christiane Amampour.

           `1979 –Tuesday-  The anthem of the Disco era, Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive was the number one song on the Billboard Charts.  The song won the 1979 Grammy for Best Disco Recording. It was the first and last time that the Grammys offered the category.

             1986 –Thursday-  You should have bought.  Hell, Professor Sy Yentz should have bought. Microsoft has its initial public offering.

            1989 –Monday Wreaking havoc with food in freezers and television viewing, a geomagnetic storm caused the power in Quebec to go kaput with the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power grid. Six million people were left without power for nine hours.  Geomagnetic storms are major disturbances of the magnetosphere that occur when the interplanetary magnetic field turns southward and remains southward for an prolonged period of time. The folks in Canada got off lightly since a geomagnetic storm's main phase can last as long as two to two and a half days. In a severe storm, charged particles in the near-Earth plasma sheet are energized and injected deeper into the inner magnetosphere, producing the storm-time ring current. After effects can include the spread of the disease, Scrivius Non Compis Mentus Timus Waistus  which causes  politicians to conduct a televised announcement (usually on a slow news day) that he/she has written a letter to someone.

            1992 FridayA 6.8-magnitude earthquake near Erzincan, Turkey, and an unusually powerful aftershock two days later killed at least 500 people and left 50,000 people homeless. Actually there were more than 3,000 aftershocks were recorded of which 505 could be located.

            1997 –Thursday- Phoenix – people were outside to observe Comet Hale-Bopp. Instead they saw were a series of widely sighted optical phenomena (generally unidentified flying objects – of course if you don’t know what it is, it’s unidentified) that occurred in the skies over Arizona and Nevada, and the Mexican state of Sonora (which could be attributed to drinking the water) A repeat sighting of the lights occurred on February 6, 2007, and was filmed by the local Fox News TV station.  Thanks to the always reliable site,  Bad Astronomy, we know that “ a lengthy investigation revealed that without a doubt, the lights seen that night were flares dropped from military airplanes, people refuse to let go.”

            2003 –Thursday- A report in the journal Nature reported that scientists had found 350,000-year-old human footprints in Italy. They were found in southern Italy's rugged Roccamonfina volcano complex, north of present-day Naples. The 56 prints were made by three early, upright-walking humans. They were descending the treacherous side of a volcano - perhaps to escape an eruption.  The  discoverers suggested either late Homo erectus or Homo heidelbergensis - two early human species found in Europe during the Paleolithic era, also known as the Stone Age left the tracks.  Subsequent research indicates that the footprints were left by Larry King, Barbara Walters and Senator John McCain. The tracks were dated between 325,000 and 385,000 years old. Footprints left by the upright-walking, prehuman species Australopithecus afarensis (Dick Van Dyke) were found in 1977 in Tanzania, imprinted in volcanic mud 3.6 million years old - making them 10 times older than this new discovery


Pi Day - Pi is a number, starting with 3.1415926535…ad infinitum. It’s the number you get when you divide the circumference of a circle by its diameter, and it can’t be expressed as a fraction. It goes on forever. That the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle is constant (namely, pi) has been recognized for as long as we have written records. The ancient Babylonians calculated the area of a circle by taking 3 times the square of its radius, which gave a value of pi = 3. One Babylonian tablet (ca. 1900–1680 BC) indicates a value of 3.125 for pi, which is a closer approximation.

In the Egyptian Rhind Papyrus (ca.1650 BC), there is evidence that the Egyptians calculated the area of a circle by a formula that gave the approximate value of 3.1605 for pi. Mathematicians began using the Greek letter π in the 1700s. Introduced by William Jones in 1706, use of the symbol was popularized by Leonhard Euler, who adopted it in 1737. It’s also Albert Einstein’s birthday.  See below.

            1489- “ Pssst, wanna buy a used country?” Caterian Cornaro, of Venice was married in 1472 to James II of Cyprus, who was eager to secure Venetian support. James II went kaput in 1473, and his infant son, James III followed him into kapution in 1474. Caterina reigned amidst diplomatic intrigue and local hostilities until Venice forced her to sell the island kingtom to them and then abdicate in 1489. This ended seven centuries of Frankish rule. Venice put down a down payment of 25% with a monthly mortagage of 100 gold ingots and 25 free trips on a gondola.

            1590Wednesday- At the Battle at Ivry future  French King Henri IV and the Huguenots defeated Catholic League.  Later, he went on to defeat the American League and the National League but lost to the National Football League on a pass interference by the Duke of Aumale.   The battle was a decisive victory for Henry of Navarre, the future Henry IV of France, leading Huguenot forces against the Catholic League forces led by the Duc de Mayenne. Henry's forces were victorious and he went on to lay siege to Paris. The battle occurred on the plain of Épieds near Ivry (later renamed Ivry-la-Bataille), Normandy.  On July 25, 1593 Henry permanently renounced Protestantism, thus earning the resentment of the Huguenots and of his former ally, Queen Elizabeth I of England. He declared that Paris vaut bien une messe ("Paris is well worth a mass”)

             1692-Friday-  Happy Birthday, Pieter van Musschenbroek, Dutch mathematician and physicist who invented the Leyden jar, the first effective device for storing static electricity.  We guess they could have called it the van Musschenbroek jar but his name was too long to fit on it.  He visited England in 1717 and met Isaac Newton., he then introduced Newton's ideas to the Netherlands.  He provided the first approach to scientific study of electrical charge and its properties. In 1729, he used the word "physics" which had never been used before.

             1743 –Thursday-  The City of Boston conducted the first town meeting in Faneuil Hall.  They passed a resolution on hating the New York Yankees and approved the start of the “Big Dig”.

            1757 – Bada byng…..English Admiral John Byng kaput. During another of Britain’s endless series of wars of the 18th century, Admiral Byng was ordered, with his fleet to protect the island of Minorca.  He found an enemy force landed on the island and a French fleet cruising outside. Byng prepared to attack the French but his line of attack was hopelessly scrambled.  He attacked any way and was soundly defeated.  Byng retreated to Gibraltar, abandoning Minorca.  When it surrendered, the public outcry was thunderous. Byng was recalled at once, court-martialed, and sentenced to death. The recommendation for mercy was ignored and he was shot on the quarter-deck of the Monarque in Portsmouth harbor. Most accounts of Byng’s demise mention Voltaire's Candide, published in 1759, which contained the famous observation that the English liked to shoot an admiral from time to time, pour encourager les autres.

            1794-Friday-  Eli Whitney received a patent for the cotton gin.  This machine made it possible to separate seeds from cotton 50 times faster than by hand. It’s possible a gent named Noah Homes filed for a patent two years before Whitney’s patent was filed. The gin, short for engine, could do the work 50 times faster than by hand. The implications on the need for slaves to do work were enormous. However, like many inventors, Whitney did not get rich off the fruits (or seeds) of his labor. He failed to profit from his invention because imitations of his machine appeared and his 1794 patent for the cotton gin could not be upheld in court until 1807. Whitney could not stop others from copying and selling his cotton gin design. Of course cotton gin makes for a really dry martini.  No one knows exactly how old cotton is. Scientists searching caves in Mexico found bits of cotton bolls and pieces of cotton cloth that proved to be at least 7,000 years old. They also found that the cotton itself was much like that grown in America today. In the Indus River Valley in Pakistan, cotton was being grown, spun and woven into cloth 3,000 years BC. At about the same time, natives of Egypt’s Nile valley were making and wearing cotton clothing.


            1820 –Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Victor Emmanuel II, Italian king of Sardinia-Piedmont and first king of united Italy. When you visit Rome, just outside the forum you will find an enormous building with columns and horses and a dome and it looks like should be Roman.  It’s not.  It’s the Victor Emmanuel II monument and it’s not that old at all.

                1833-Thursday- Patient: “Doctor, I have yellow teeth, what do I do?”

Dentist: “Wear a brown tie... “ Happy Birthday, Lucy  Hobbs Taylor, first woman dentist in America to graduate, in1866, from a dental college as a Doctor of Dental Surgery. And that’s the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth! While later practicing in Chicago, she met and married Civil War veteran and railway maintenance worker James M. Taylor in April 1867. Under his wife's guidance, he too became a dentist.

            1839-Thursday- Sir John Herschel, son of astronomer Sir William Herschel who discovered Uranus (see March 13, 1781) referred to "photography" in a lecture to the Royal Society.  Herschel published papers on photography. One of his most important papers, On the Art of Photography; or the Application of the Chemical Rays of Light to the Purpose of Pictorial Presentation, was read to the Royal Society on this day. In the paper Herschel put to use the word “photography”, “emulsion”, “positive” and “negative”. Although the word “photography” was used as early as 1832 by a Professor Stenger, it was Herschel’s paper that finally gave photography a common nomenclature. “Photography” is derived from Greek words that mean “light” and “writing”.

            1854-Tuesday- Happy Birthday, Paul Ehrlich, German medical scientist known for his pioneering work in hematology, immunology, and chemotherapy and for his discovery of the first effective treatment for syphilis. It was called "Dr. Erlich's magic bullet". These magic bullets were compounds that would have a specific attraction to disease-causing microorganisms. They would seek out these organisms and destroy them, avoiding other organisms and having no harmful effects on the bodies of patients. He received the 1908 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his scientific work in the field of immunity

            1862 –Friday-  Happy Birthday, Vilhelm Bjerknes, Norwegian meteorologist and physicist, one of the founders of the modern science of weather forecasting. ….which couldn’t be too hard in Norway as one would just say, “cold with snow” for every day  except maybe one or two in July,  and most of the time you’d be right.

            1864-Monday- Driving that train, high on cocaine,
Casey Jones you better, watch your speed.
Trouble ahead, trouble behind,
And you know that notion just crossed my mind.
This old engine makes it on time,
Leaves Central Station 'bout a quarter to nine,
Hits River Junction at seventeen two,
At a quarter to ten you know it's drivin' again. …
…Grateful Dead………Happy Birthday, Casey Jones, American railroad engineer. When Jones was in his teens, his family moved across the Mississippi River to Cayce, Ky., the town name (pronounced the same as Casey) providing his nickname. Fortunately, his family hadn’t moved to Looneyville, Texas .In an age when engineers were celebrities, Jones was the most famous.  He was killed in an equally famous train wreck in April of 1900.  On the night of Apr. 29, 1900, when he ended his New Orleans-Memphis run on the Cannonball Express, Jones learned that the engineer scheduled for the return trip was ill. He needed the money, so he decided to drive "Old 382" back again. At 4:00 A.M. near Vaughan, Miss., he  came upon a stalled freight train on the track ahead,. He tried to break….takes a while for a train to stop so he shouted to his fireman, Van Halen and the Pointer Sisters to jump, and Casey rode his engine alone into the collision. He was the only casualty; workmen found his mangled body with one hand on the whistle cord, the other on the brake. Newspapers spread an account of the incident throughout the country. Engine wiper Wallace Saunders, a black friend of Jones's, wrote The Ballad of Casey Jones. The song immortalized Casey's name and made him a legendary folk figure.

            1879-Friday-  Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein, along with Isaac Newton recognized as the most brilliant mind of the last millennium (and the few years since), Jewish Nobel Prize winner who escaped from Nazi Germany to America where he continued to be the world's pre-eminent physicist. Einstein advanced a series of theories that proposed entirely new ways of thinking about space, time, and gravitation. His theories of relativity and gravitation were a profound advance over the old Newtonian physics and revolutionized scientific inquiry.  He was even offered the position (but turned it down) of first president of Israel.  In 1905 Albert Einstein submitted to Annalen der Physik five papers. Three of them have been called the greatest in the history of physics. One examined the photoelectric effect, one the behavior of small particles in suspension (Brownian motion). And one outlined the special Theory of R elativity.  The first won him a Nobel Prize and explained the nature of light (it also made television possible). The second provided proof that atoms do exist. The third changed the world. 

His famous equation E=mc2 did not appear with the paper, but came in a brief supplement that followed. Having just solved several of the deepest mysteries of the universe……Einstein then applied for a job as a university lecturer and was rejected.

He applied for a job as a high school teacher. He was rejected again. He went back to his job as a patent examiner 3rd class.

            1885 – Saturday - A more humane Mikado never
Did in Japan exist,
To nobody second,
I'm certainly reckoned
A true philanthropist.
It is my very humane endeavour
To make, to some extent,
Each evil liver
A running river
Of harmless merriment…
…..The premiere of  Gilbert and Sullivan’s at the Savoy Theatre, London. It would play for 672 performances. Starring Richard Temple in the title role, plot involved The residents of the Japanese town of Titipu, anxious to please their strict Emperor. They  seek an excuse to enforce the death penalty for flirting – and their executioner almost beheads the heir to the throne. From its premiere to the present, this cunning send-up of British mores has been the most popular work in the G&S canon, successful in many languages and interpretations. Still one of the funniest musicals ever written, it remains the most frequently produced 19th Century theatre piece.

1900-Wednesday-  Congress ratified the Gold Standard Act.  The act set the value of gold at $20.67 per troy ounce (troy weight is based on a pound of twelve ounces or how much the horse weighed that concealed the thirty Greeks.) The act further stateed that: “the dollar consisting of twenty-five and eight-tenths grains of gold nine-tenths fine ... shall be the standard unit of value, and all forms of money issued or coined by the United States shall be maintained at a parity of value with this standard, and it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to maintain such parity.”  We no longer use the gold standard, we use a system of flat money but from here on it gets too complicated so just spend it. And, if you’re the U.S government, you can spend it even if you don’t have it.

            1900-Wednesday-  Gregor Mendel’s Mendel's research was ignored for thirty four years after1866. It was rediscovered on this day by biologist Hugo de Vries . In 1866 scientists focused on Darwin's new theory of natural selection. Biologists couldn't reconcile Mendel's observation of distinct hereditary factors with Darwin's gradations between species. Mendel made no sense to scientists until they knew what chromosomes did. Hugo de Vries, known chiefly for suggesting the concept of gene, rediscovered Mendel study of the biological inheritance of trait s in pea plants. De Vries was also well known for his studies of mutations. He spent many hours watching reality shows on television. He discovered new forms among a display of Evening Primrose Oenothera lamarcklana growing wild in a waste meadow. This led him to believe that evolution might be studied by a new experimental method. This new method is considered his greatest contribution to science and resulted in a new approach to evolution and a new epoch in its history. The name "mutation" was given to his new method of producing new species and varieties (cultivars) which he showed to arise unexpectedly.

            1923-Wednesday-  Warren Harding became the first president to pay income taxes. His tax bill was $18,000.  He died later the same year.

            1928 –Wednesday- Happy Birthday, Frank Borman, American astronaut, who was a member of the Apollo 8 mission, 1968, as it took the first manned flight around the moon.  In December 1965, he and Jim Lovell spent a record 14 days in orbit aboard Gemini 7. During the flight, Gemini 6 astronauts Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford were launched and executed the first space rendezvous, with the two spacecraft maneuvering to less than a meter of one another. Sort of like a boy and girl at a JHS dance. After being assigned Apollo 8, Borman and his crew were offered the first Lunar Landing (Apollo 11), instead of Armstrong and Aldrin, but Borman turned it down.

            1931-Saturday-  So you go to the movies and you sit and the screen is in front of you and the projection comes from behind you.  Well on this day the first American motion picture theatre built especially for rear projection of the movie was opened in New York City.  The movie was Avatar  Meets King Kong

            1931 –Saturday- “Come with me
                                              My love
                                               To the sea
                                      The sea of love
            Happy Birthday, Phil Phillips, (John Phillip Baptiste) born in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Phillips wrote a medley of his one hit, Sea Of Love, to impress a would-be girlfriend in 1958.  The Gnus Editorial Board knew that Sea of Love has been a popular song to cover but not this popular: Marty Wilde 1959; Jimmy Velvit 2001, The Heptones; 1968, Kevin Coyne1973, The Persuasions 1976,Iggy Pop1981, Del Shannon 1982, The Honeydrippers 1984, Shakin' Stevens 1988, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole 1990, John Fahey 1992, Arvingarna 1993, The Fire Ants; 1993, Horace Andy2001, Cat Power 2000, Robert Plant 2003, Tom Waits 2006, Cat Power  - a cover of their own cover no less! 2007, and Jim & Shirley 2008.  

            1934-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Eugene Cernan, American astronaut who left his spacecraft for more than two hours of extra-vehicular activity (forgot his keys and had to bang on the door to be let back in) during the Gemini 9 mission in 1966. As a member of Apollo 10 in 1969, the last before the Apollo 11 moon landing, he piloted the lunar module to within 10 miles of the lunar surface…..ooh, he must have been so tempted to just touch down, run out, touch the moon’s surface and be first….. and then flew back up to re-unite with the command module for the flight back to Earth.

            1950-Tuesday- New York City hired a rainmaker, Dr. Wallace E. Howell, to relieve a severe drought.  ……..Rain, I don't mind.
Shine, the world looks fine.
Can you hear me, that when it rains and shines,
(When it Rains and shines.)
It's just a state of mind?
(When it rains and shines.)
Can you hear me, can you hear me?
If the rain comes they run and hide their heads…….
The Beatles……..The results were questionable, but since this was New York City, undoubtedly there were cost overruns. Reservoirs in the Catskill watershed area that supplies the NYC were getting lower every day and     newspapers filled with dire forecasts of when they might be empty. Swimming    pools were closed, lawn sprinkling and car washing banned. ''Shaveless Fridays''     were in vogue. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese urged parishioners to pray for             rain. New York City hired Howell in early 1950 for t $100 a day. Whether (or weather) or not it was Howell’s efforts, rains came, and the reservoirs began to fill    again. There was even a freak snowstorm in mid-April; ''Howell's snow,'' it was   called. Water restrictions were eventually lifted. Unfortunately, in the Catskill      watershed area it was a different story.  The rains had made farmers and resort      owners furious. They charged that crops had been flooded and vacationers scared             off and they filed suit against the city and its rainmaker. ''I know some people up             there that would shoot Dr. Howell on sight,'' one farm official was quoted as      saying. For more than two decades, Dr. Howell traveled the world, seeding clouds   with dry ice and silver iodide, trying to make rain for agriculture and             hydroelectric power in countries like Canada, Cuba, Peru and the Philippines.   

            Professor Sy Yentz is also available as a rainmaker.  Any area of the world        suffering from a drought, should bring in Professor Sy Yentz and his car.  He will            wash his car and rain will occur within twelve hours.  Guaranteed.

1950 Tuesday-  F.B.I. director, publicity hound, and poof,  J. Edgar Hoover began the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” program. The idea came about in 1949, when a reporter from the International News Service decided to write a story about the “toughest guys” sought by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In response, the F.B.I. provided ten names of wanted criminals.  To get on the list, a fugitive's past criminal record, the nature of his deeds, and his potential threat to the community were--and still are--reviewed. Occasionally, the list has been expanded to include a particularly pressing case, such as the 1961 manhunt for a West Coast butcher-murderer, and the 1968 dragnet for James Earl Ray after the Dr. Martin Luther King assassination. First on the original list was one Thomas James Holden - U.S. escaped prisoner, was arrested June 23, 1951 in Beaverton, Oregon. Holden He had fled Illinois, and was charged with unlawful flight across state lines after being imprisoned for killing his wife and her two brothers while drinking June 5, 1949 in Chicago.

            1956 –Wednesday- “ One two three o’clock four o’clock rock………” Did the          movie   Blackboard Jungle, (1955 starring Glen Ford, Anne Francis and Sidney       Poitier) which began with the musical blast of  Rock Around the Clock,  make the record? Or did the record make the movie?  Now, a year later,  a movie named after the record, Rock Around The Clock, featuring Bill Haley and His Comets, the Platters and Freddie Bell & the Bellboys (Freddie and the Bellboys?), Ernie Maresca (later to achieve fame with his classic musical advice Shout Shout Knock Yourself Out) and disk jockey Alan Freed,  premiered in Washington, DC.  Ad lines modestly announced “It’s the Most”, “The screen's first great rock 'n' roll feature!”, and “It's the whole story of rock and roll!”

1959 –Saturday-  In a shocking development, Dick Clark protégée, Fabian (utterly devoid of talent) was voted most promising new talent on, yes,  Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, proving that a; the vote was fixed, b; there wasn’t really a vote, c; someone said Turn Me Loose, d; people who didn’t vote for Fabian had to listen to Like a Tiger for 24 consecutive hours; e voters were all name Dick Clark or;  all of the above.

1960-Monday The first offshore sulfur mine obtained sulfur. It was built off the Louisiana coast.  In case of an accident they would have to "sulfur" the consequences.

1972 –Tuesday- One of sport’s more notable migrant nomadic franchises, the Cincinnati Royals of Oscar Robertson, Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes fame, of the National Basketball Association announced that the team's franchise would be moved to Kansas City, Missouri at the end of the season. They would have the catchy name of Kansas City-Omaha Kings. In 1985 they would move to Sacramento as the Sacramento Kings. The Cincinnati Royals had originated as the Rochester Royals in 1945.

1995 –Tuesday-  Astronaut Norman Thagard became the first American to enter space aboard a Russian rocket as he and two cosmonauts blasted off aboard a Soyuz spacecraft, headed for the Mir space station. He relied on Russian food, which is usually lumps of unidentifiable, grisly meat served with undercooked potatoes all washed down with the inevitable mugs of vodka and tea. The return to Earth resulted in space microbes transmuting in the Toiletius Papyrus Hoardatius disease which results in people buying as much toilet paper as possible upon hearing a prediction of snow.

2009 –Saturday- To the surprise of no one who has ever had to commute in city traffic, researchers reported at the American Heart Association’s 49th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention that people who have had a heart attack are likely to report having been in traffic shortly before their symptoms began.



44 B.C. – Tuesday- Caesar:
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Beware the ides of March.

What man is that?

A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 15–19, ….Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Roman Forum by a group of senators led by Cassius and Brutus.  He was stabbed in the forum……Also, in the back, side and chest................................
In the ancient Roman calendar, each of the 12 months had an ‘ides’ of the month. In March, May, July and October, the ides fell on the 15th day. In all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. The word ‘ides’ was derived from the Latin “to divide.” In a vote "the ides" would have it.
The assassination also marked a turning point in the history of Rome and the world. It set in motion a civil war, first Cassius and Brutus vs. Marc Antony and Octavian and then Octavian vs. Marc Antony. It put an end to whatever democracy there had been, ushering in an absolutist rule that would prevail over Western Europe for centuries to come.

            1493 –Wednesday-  Christopher Columbus returned to Spain just in time for Spring Break after his first voyage to the New World.  He had set out on the return voyage on Jan. 4, 1493, touching the Azores on Feb. 15, landing at Lisbon on March 4, and finally reaching Palos, Spain on this day. Columbus announced that he had discovered the route to the Indies, and fabulous bargains at Columbus Day Sales. News of which quickly spread throughout Europe, caused much excitement, but  was not good news for the indigenous peoples of what would come to be known as the Americas.

            1545 –Monday-  Suppose they had a Council and nobody came? March 15, 1545 was supposed to be the first meeting of the Council of Trent, called by Pope Paul III  in the Bull Laetare Hierusalem  which was issued, by which the council was convoked to meet at Trento, Italy on 15 March, 1545. This 19th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, convoked to meet the crisis of the Protestant Reformation . Unfortunately, attendance was poor with few Bishops attending so the first meeting was put off until December 13, 1545.  When they finally got around to meeting the first period of the Council of Trent 1545-47, produced the Roman Catechism, specifying the beliefs of the Catholic church. The first meeting of the Council also clarified church belief and dogma, the roles of scripture and sacraments, and provided guidelines for clergy. The Canons on Justification are considered among the most important work of the first period of the Council.  The second period of the Council 1551-52, focused on the Eucharist, penance, and further discussion of the roles and behavior of the clergy. The second period of the Council was heavily influenced by the Jesuits.  Finally, the third period of the Council1562-63  is best known for the infamous list of forbidden books it produced. While the other periods of the Council served largely to clarify Catholic belief, the third period also clarified what the Catholic church did not believe.

            1767 –Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Andrew Jackson, 7th U.S. President  born in  the Carolinas – in 1767 there was no North & South Carolina -.  “Old Hickory” lived most of his adult life in Tennessee.  He became a nationally recognized hero following his defeat of the British in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, unfortunately fought two weeks after the peace treaty had been signed.  Later, he fought the Creek Wars as well as the Seminole War in Florida. He became Florida's military governor in 1819 after Spain ceded it to the United States in the Adams-Onís Treaty. Jackson ran for the Presidency in 1824, where he received more popular and electoral votes any of the other candidates. However, because he did not receive a majority of either the outcome of the election had to be decided by the House of Representatives who, mainly thanks to Henry Clay, awarded the office to John Quincy Adams. Jackson also holds the distinction of being the only bigamist to be elected President as well as the first President to be victim of an attempted assassination. When Jackson married Rachel Robards she was still undergoing a divorce from her first husband, Col. Lewis Robards. Whoops!  At the time she and Jackson married they didn’t know her divorce was not final. They separated until the divorce was finalized, then were legally married soon after. On January 30, 1835 when Jackson was leaving a funeral, a meshugener named Richard Lawrence fired a pistol at him at point-blank range. The pistol misfired and Lawrence pulled another pistol which also misfired. Jackson then proceeded to beat the man over the head with his cane. Jackson’s protégé, James K. Polk would become one of the great American presidents.

            1779 –Monday-  Happy Birthday, William Lamb Melbourne English prime minister and adviser to the young Queen Victoria . His wife wrote novels as Lady Caroline Lamb and was notorious for her affair with Lord Byron.  The city of Melbourne, Australia was named after him.

            1783-Saturday-  In another demonstration of his great leadership skills, General George Washington made a surprise appearance at an assembly of army officers at Newburgh, New York, to calm the growing frustration and distrust they had been openly expressing towards Congress in the previous few weeks – called the Newburgh Conspiracy –We note as an aside that people have been expressing frustration and distrust towards Congress every day of American history.  The officers were angry with Congress for failing to honor its promise to pay them and for its failure to settle accounts for repayment of food and clothing. Some officers began circulating an anonymous letter condemning Congress and calling for a revolt. This was entirely appropriate since Congress is revolting.  Washington heard about it and called a general meeting for this day. The officers realized that Washington had given as much or more in the service of the new nation as any of them. The nascent rebellion was quieted and the Newburgh Mall was opened with a Bon Ton as an anchor store.

            1788-Saturday-  Jean-François de Galoup, Comte de La Pérouse, multi named French explorer and naval officer left Botany Bay to continue his trip around the world.   La Perouse had mapped the west coast of North America in 1786, and he visited Easter Island and the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). He was lost at sea and presumed kaput when his ships were wrecked on reefs while searching for we now know as the Solomon Islands.     

            1813-Monday-  Happy Birthday, John Snow, English obstetrician who wrote On the Mode of Communication of Cholera  in 1849. Snow theorized that cholera was a contagious disease easily transmitted by contaminated water. The widely-held theory  at the time was that diseases were caused by “bad air” and so Snow’s idea was ignored. However, during London's 1854 cholera emergency, he correlated individual cholera casualties to the water supply they had used in each case. He then solved the deadly epidemic by removing a pump handle of the community water pump that he found to be the culprit. A subsequent investigation showed raw sewage from a cesspit had contaminated the well

            1820 -Monday -Maine became the 23rd state of the United States of America.  Maine was at one time part of Massachusetts. It became its own state in 1820, becoming the 23rd state admitted to the United States of America, although its northern borders were not finalized until 1842, probably because with a population of like, six people, it took a while to survey.  Maine was home to the first (yes before Plymouth) English Colony.  In 1602 a group of English built a fort on the island of Cuttyhunk and later Fort St. George in Popham Maine.  Because the Popham colony didn't survive the harsh Maine winters, or the man eating black flies or an endless series of flannel shirts from L.L Bean, Jamestown enjoys the distinction of being regarded as America's first permanent settlement. Statehood for Maine was a component  of the Missouri Compromise. Maine would be a free state, Missouri, slave state of 1820.  Portland was selected as the state capital, but this was only temporary. In 1832 the capital was moved to Augusta, a more centrally located site. Maine symbols include: Animal –Moose, Berry - Wild Blueberry, Bird – Chickadee, Cat - Maine Coon Cat Fish - Landlocked Salmon, Fossil - Pertica quadrifaria, Herb – Wintergreen, Insect –Honeybee, Mineral – Tourmaline, Soil – (yes, they have official dirt in Maine) Chesuncook, Song - State of Maine Song by Roger Vinton Snow. Tree - White Pine

           1854-Wednesday- Happy Birthday, Emil von Behring, German bacteriologist who is considered the founder of the science of immunology. He received in 1901 the first Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his work on serum therapy, especially its application against diphtheria. Although fairly obscure now, diphtheria was a serious threat during the late 19th century.  In 1890, Von Behring discovered that guinea pigs injected with diptheria toxin (remnants of diptheria with the active bacilli filtered out) could have their tissues acclimated to the toxin such that they produced a substance capable of neutralizing the diptheria toxin itself. This antitoxin, he mixed with diptheria toxin and injected into healthy guinea pigs, yielding no ill effects after the animals were exposed to diptheria. He coined the word “antitoxin” to describe such substances.

            1892- Tuesday- An escalator design was patented in the U.S. by its inventor Jesse W. Reno of New York City. The Otis Elevator Company registered the U.S. trademark Escalator in May 1901. Otis manufactured their first escalator in 1900 which they had exhibited at the Paris Exposition in that year, and then installed at the Gimbel Brothers department store in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1901.  Like the elevator, this business had its ups and downs…and then there was the blonde who was an hour late for a meeting because the escalator was broken……………………. The first patent relating to an escalator-like machine was granted in March 9, 1859 to Nathan Ames of Saugus, Massachusetts for an invention that he called Revolving Stairs. His design for the escalator was far ahead of its time and was never built

            1917 – Thursday- Remarkably incompetent Czar Nicholas II, ruler of Russia since 1894, was forced to abdicate the throne by the Petrograd insurgents, and a provincial government was installed in his place. Had he not been kaputed, along with his entire family, by the Bolsheviks, Nicholas could have written the basic text on “arrogance and stupidity – a bad combination for ruling a country”.  Nicholas abdicated in favor of his brother Michael, however, on the next day Michael also abdicated, leaving Russia with no tsar at all. Responding to this unexpected turn of events, leading Duma members assumed the role of being the country’s provisional government. The provisional government was to serve temporarily, until a Constituent Assembly could be elected later in the year to decide formally on the country’s future government, thus letting the Bolshevik foxes into the hen house.

            1920-Monday- Happy Birthday, E. Donnel Thomas, American physician who pioneered techniques for transplanting bone marrow. The procedure involves the transfer of bone-marrow cells from a healthy donor to the bone marrow of the patient, so that the patient can resume production of healthy white blood cells to replace the cancerous cells. Thomas was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology of medicine in 1990 (he shared the award with Joseph E. Murray).

             1932 –Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Alan  Bean (member of a large family including brothers, Baked Bean, Lima Bean and Human Bean), American astronaut: lunar module pilot on  Apollo 12, the second lunar landing and  fourth man to set foot on the moon on Nov 19, 1969.  He was also commander of the Skylab 3 mission, the U.S.’ first space station in 1973.  Bean became the fourth person in history to set foot on the moon after he followed Pete Conrad from their lunar lander. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 were the first two. One of Bean's first acts upon stepping onto the moon was to toss his astronaut pin, worn by rookie astronauts, into a crater. "When you become an astronaut, after about a year of training, you get a silver one," Bean later said, referring to the astronaut pins he and his fellow astronauts wore. "When I went to the moon, I took my silver one with me and I threw it in the crater near Surveyor. I often think of it at night when I look up at the moon." So while Bean was the fourth to walk on the moon, he was the first to litter.

            1937 –Monday-  The first blood bank was established -- in Chicago, IL at the Cook County Hospital.  The first withdrawal seems to have been from a C. Dracula. Blood banks could not have been developed without the pioneering work of Charles Drew.  Drew had made discoveries in the preservation of blood while in Columbia University who’s sports teams have always been so awful that there is nothing else to do but make great discoveries.  He found that by separating the liquid red blood cells from the near solid plasma and freezing the two separately, blood could be preserved and reconstituted at a later date. In 1941 in San Francisco the first community-based blood center, The Irwin Memorial Blood Bank, was established.

            1941 –Saturday-  A fast-moving and severe blizzard hit North Dakota and Minnesota, killing 151 people. Weather forecasting and reporting made important advances following this disaster that would have prevented the loss of life that occurred due to this sudden storm. The people of North Dakota and northern Minnesota ( all six of them) had nearly no warning of the blizzard that suddenly appeared from the west . In some locations, temperatures dropped 20 degrees in less than 15 minutes (like the “Blizzard of 88” back east). Fifty-mile-per-hour sustained winds (with gusts reaching 85 mph in Grand Forks and 75 mph in Duluth) brought blinding snow and huge 7-foot-high snow drifts across the states.  Most of the victims were trapped in their cars as highways and roads were closed.  This was similar to the Valentine’s Day storm of 2007 in Pennsylvania.  However those trapped on the closed interstates were able to get to safety.

            1945 –Thursday-  The Nation's first No. 1 album from the first Billboard album chartwas "The Nat King Cole Trio" on Capitol Records. It included such hits as Sweet Lorraine, It's Only a Paper Moon, I'm Through With Love, etc., and remained on the charts for 35 weeks.

                1954 –Monday- Hey nonny ding dong, alang alang alang
Boom ba-doh, ba-doo ba-doodle-ay
Oh, life could be a dream (sh-boom)
If I could take you up in paradise up above (sh-boom)
If you would tell me I'm the only one that you love
Life could be a dream sweetheart
(Hello hello again, sh-boom and hopin' we'll meet again)
h-boom sh-boom Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da
Sh-boom sh-boom Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da
Sh-boom sh-boom Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da, sh-boom
Sh-boom sh-boom Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da
Sh-boom sh-boom Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da
Sh-boom sh-boom Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da, sh-boom

                       What was arguably the first “doo wop” song of the doo wop era (arguments can be made for Gee by the Crows in 1953 or It’s Too Soon to Know by Sonny Til and the Orioles) of the 1950s was recorded by the Chords a group from the Bronx, NY.

            1955 –Tuesday- Aerosol cans had been around for a while….Aaron “Bunny” Lapin received a patent for his invention of "Dispensing Valves for Gas Pressure Containers" – the aerosol can- United States Patent 2704172 -which he had designed for his Reddi-Wip whipped cream dessert topping in a spray can in1948. In the '40s he had perfected an aerosol valve. Lapin realized his aerosol valve would solve the storage/reuse problem for perishable liquids. Reddi-Wip became one of the more popular mutant “convenience” foods of the 20th century.  Lapin lived modestly on his invention, in 1951, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch called him ''Bunny Lapin, Whipped Cream King.'' Aerosol Age, a trade publication, wrote, ''He bought Cadillacs two at a time and lived in Gloria Swanson's furnished mansion in Hollywood.''  In 1949, Robert H. Abplanalp’s invention of a crimp on valve enabled liquids to be sprayed from a can under the pressure of an inert gas. Spray cans, mainly containing insecticides, were available to the public in 1947. Abplanalp’s invention made of lightweight aluminum made the cans a cheap and practical way to dispense liquids foams, powders, and creams. In 1953, he  patented his crimp-on valve "for dispensing gases under pressure." His Precision Valve Corporation was soon earning over $100 million manufacturing one billion aerosol cans annually in the United States and one-half billion in 10 other countries.

1956 –Thursday- “ I could have danced all night….” The Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady starring Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews and Stanley Holloway opened on Broadway. Based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, the musical premiered at the Mark Hellinger Theater. Directed by Moss Hart, it would move to the Broadhurst Theatre, and then the Broadway Theatre, and run for 2717 performances before closing in 1962. The Academy Award winning movie, with Audrey Hepburn (lip synching to the voice of Marni Nixon) substituting for Julie Andrews, had its debut in 1964

            1964 –Sunday-  Hello, I love you
Won't you tell me your name?
Hello, I love you
Let me jump in your game
Hello, I love you
Won't you tell me your name?
Hello, I love you
Let me jump in your game
……..The Doors………Serial bride, sometime actress and full time hypochondriac Elizabeth Taylor married Richard Burton for the first time. The happy couple first met and fell in love while filming Cleopatra in 1963 when Elizabeth was a 30 year old star and already on her forth marriage (this one to Eddie Fisher). The happy nuptials were held in Montreal. The low key ceremony featured the exchanging of vows front of only nine friends and one Reverend Leonard Mason who was the only member of the clergy willing to associate himself with the lovebirds who between them had left behind a total of five broken marriages.

            1972 – Wednesday-  “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli”. Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, The Godfather, based on the novel by Mario Puzo had its world premiere in New York City.  The film swept the Academy Awards, winning Best Picture, Best Actor (for Marlon Brando), and Best Screenplay (Coppola and Mario Puzo, author of the best-selling novel). Who were the real life characters?  A couple of easy speculations are – Frank Sinatra as the singer Johnny Fontaine, Hyman Roth as Meyer Lansky, Moe Greene as Bugsy Siegel (vaguely). The Godfather himself has been speculated as a combination of Frank Costello and Carlo Gambino but most probably is based on Joe Profaci, a New York Mafia boss who was the founder and head of the Profaci crime family (known today as the Colombo crime family) for over three decades, aka the "Olive Oil King".

            1972 –Wednesday- Same day as the Godfather premiered, Los Angeles DJ Robert W. Morgan played Donny Osmond’s turgid Puppy Love for 90 straight minutes. Police eventually raided the station, suspecting foul play. Puppy Love was written by Paul Anka for Annette Funicello, with whom Anka was having an affair during a package tour. Anka's manager insisted that the affair be low-key and kept out of the press, if possible.

            1985 –Friday-  The domain name. The Domain Name Game…
Come on everybody!
I say now let's play a game
I betcha I can make a rhyme out of anybody's domain.
The first letter of the name, I treat it like it wasn't there
But a B or an F or an M will appear
And then I say bo add a B then I say the name and Bonana fanna and a fo
And then I say the name again with an F very plain
and a fee fy and a mo 
And then I say the name again with an M this time
and there isn't any domain name that I can't rhyme

org, org bo Borg Bonana fanna fo forg
Fee fy mo morg, org! ……….
apologies to Shirley Ellis….When the first computers began connecting to each other over Wide Area Networks (WAN's), like the ARPANET in the 1960's, a form of identification was needed to properly access the various systems. At first the networks were composed of only a few computer systems associated with the U.S. Department of Defense and other institutions. As the number of connections grew, a more effective system was needed to regulate and maintain the domain paths throughout the network. In 1972 the U.S. Defence Information Systems Agency created the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). IANA was responsible for assigning unique 'addresses' to each computer connected to the Internet. By 1973, the Internet Protocol or IP addressing system became the standard by which all networked computers could be located. Researchers and technicians at the University of Wisconsin developed the first 'name server' in 1984. With the new name server, users were no longer required to know the exact path to other systems. And thus the birth of the current addressing system in use today. A year later, on this day, the Domain Name System was implemented and the initial top-level domain names, including .com, .net, and .org, were introduced. Suddenly became ''. First registered name was

            1998 -Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes aired an interview with former White House employee Kathleen Willey. Wiley said that presidential stud muffin and serial horn dog, President Clinton made unwelcome sexual advances toward her in the Oval Office in 1993. Poor Wiley and CBS were then buried in a typical Clintonesque avalanche of slurs, innuendoes, counter charges and equivocations.

            2002 –Friday- Burger King began selling a veggie burger. The event was billed as the first veggie burger to be sold nationally by a fast food chain. The half life of the veggie burger is equal to that of Uranium which is the last and heaviest of the natural elements. Its half-life of 4.6 billion years makes it the longest-lived of all isotopes but not quite up to that of a hot dog sold on 34th street in Manhattan.



37  - Caligula, affectionately known as Little Boot, became emperor of Rome following the kapution of his depraved 77 year old great uncle, Tiberius. One story, (and there are many about Caligula) from Suetonius, involved how Tiberius was thought to have died. Caligula drew the imperial signet ring from his finger and was greeted as emperor by the crowd. Then however news reached the would-be emperor that Tiberius had recovered and was requesting food be brought to him. Caligula, terrified at any revenge by the emperor returned from the dead, froze on the spot. But Naevius Cordus Sertorius Macro, commander of the praetorians, rushed inside and smothered Tiberius with a cushion. At first, Caligula was quite popular, particularly with the army.  He was the youngest son of Germanicus (who was mysteriously kaputed in 19) and Agrippina the Elder. His great-grandfather was Augustus.  He only ruled for three years and ten months. On January 24, 41, after years of cruelty, debauchery, and out of control spending, Caligula was slewn. While alone in a corridor  he was struck down by Cassius Chaera and a group of soldiers. Cassius Chaera had been with Germanicus' army long ago, and had become fed up with Caligula for personal reasons (Caligula liked to make fun of Cassius' voice). They also killed Caligula's wife Caesonia and their infant daughter, Julia Drusilla by smashing her head against a wall. After much confusion, as Caligula was the first assassinated Emperor – it would, however,  become a time honored tradition with the Romans-, old uncle Claudius was made Emperor.

            1322 –Monday- The Battle of Boroughbridge was a battle fought between a group of rebellious barons and the testosteronically challenged King Edward II of England, near, yes, Boroughbridge England. It is situated northwest of York. This was the culmination of a long period of antagonism between the king and Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, his most powerful subject but  it resulted in Lancaster's defeat and execution. This allowed Edward to re-establish royal authority, and hold on to power for another five years.  In 1327, his wife Isabella, together with her lover Roger Mortimer, staged a coup against the king. Edward II was deposed and his son, Edward III succeeded in his place.

            1621 –Tuesday- Sunrise, Samoset…Sunrise, Samoset…. The Pilgrims might not have been the best of new neighbors and relations with the Native Americans were, at best dicey.  On this day, an Indian named Samoset walked towards the white men, saluted them and announced “welcome welcome Englishmen”………in English. Alexander Young, who collected the historical documents recording the lives of the Pilgrims and events at Plymouth Plantation, reprinted in Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers of the Colony of Plymouth  wrote, "He very boldly came all alone, and along the houses, straight to the rendezvous; where we intercepted him, not suffering him to go in, as undoubtedly he would out of his boldness." Samoset was the first native that the Pilgrims encountered up close and were actually able to converse with, they questioned him considerably to learn everything they could about him and the area. 
Samoset explained that he was originally from Monhegan Island, which was five days' journey by land but one day by ship, and he was a sagamore, a lesser chief or lord, there. He had been in the Patuxet region for the past eight months visiting the Wampanoag tribe, but that he was intending to return to his people shortly. He had learned English from contact with the English fishermen and traders who visited the Monhegan region.

             1750-Monday-  Happy Birthday, Caroline Herschel, sister of Sir William and the first famous female astronomer. It was she who did the complicated calculations from her brother's observations.  On August 1, 1786, Caroline became the first woman to discover a comet.  She was also involved in other astronomical pursuits. She began re-cataloging John Flamsteed's star catalog and submitted it to the Royal Society in 1798, together with an additional 560 stars which Flamsteed had omitted.

            1751-Tuesday-  Happy Birthday James Madison of Virginia, 4th president of the U.S. Also, drafter of the Constitution, recorder of the Constitutional Convention, and author, with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, of the “Federalist Papers”.  With Thomas Jefferson's election in 1800, Madison became Secretary of State. In this office, he oversaw the acquisition from France of the the Louisiana Purchase, which virtually doubled the size of the United States. Madison was elected president in 1808 on the Democratic-Republican ticket. He was the first president who had prior service as a congressman. The two eight years of his presidency were occupied by trade disputes between the United States, Britain, and France. Madison urged his countrymen into war against Britain. The War of 1812 began and ended under his jurisdiction; the Treaty of Ghent was signed on Christmas Eve, 1814. His Vice Presidents were George Clinton (of Parliament Funkadelic) and Elbridge Gerry (of Gerry and the Pacemakers).  And... at 5' 4", our shortest president.

            1774 –Wednesday-   Fliners keepers…Happy Birthday, Matthew Fliners, English naval captain and hydrographer who prepared detailed charts of much of the Australian coastline. Flinders was the first to consistently use the term Australia, something that would have guaranteed him a place in history apart from his many other achievements. Additionally he was first to prove that the eastern and western sections of Australia were connected, and his work gave the map of Australia its present shape. Fliners was a bit of a dare devil.  He first explored parts of the New South Wales coast south of Sydney with his friend George Bass. The first two trips took place in small open boats, both called Tom Thumb.  After a surveying trip south in the Francis, Flinders carried out important work in the Norfolk, including the circumnavigation of Tasmania. Soon after he commanded the Norfolk expedition to the waters of southern Queensland.  On his next trip, he circumnavigated Australia, threw another shrimp on the barbie, drank a lot of Fosters, and got Rolf Harris’s autograph, On his way back to England as a passenger in the Porpoise, with charts and journals, to organize another vessel to replace his lost ship, the Investigator, Flinders was shipwrecked on a coral reef east of the Queensland coast. He organized the stranded sailors and undertook a gallant ocean rescue effort. Still trying to get home, this time on a ship called the  Cumberland, he was detained by the French on Mauritius. Yes, he eventually got home but his health was ruined.

            1787-Friday-  Ohm Ohm on the range………Happy Birthday, George Simon Ohm (brother of Bi Ohm and Gene Ohm ), German physicist.  The ohm, a unit used to measure electric resistance was named in his honor. Ohm was able to define the fundamental relationship between voltage, current, and resistance. He eponomously stated the famous Ohm's law in 1826,  "If the given temperature remains constant, the current flowing through certain conductors is proportional to the potential difference (voltage) across it." or V=iR. That should certainly clear things up for you.

            1802 –Tuesday-  The U.S. Military Academy opened at West Point, N.Y.  George Washington had first proposed a military academy in 1783. During the Revolutionary War, West Point was the site of a permanent garrison of Washington's troops. Washington personally selected Thaddeus Kosciuszko, one of the heroes of Saratoga, to design the fortifications for West Point in l778, and Washington transferred his headquarters to West Point in l779. Continental soldiers built forts, batteries and redoubts and extended a l50-ton iron chain across the Hudson to control river traffic. Benedict Arnold’s treason involved turning West Point over to the British. The original act provided that the Corps of Engineers stationed at West Point should constitute a military academy, but the growing threat of war with England, which would begin in 1812 resulted in congressional action to increase the corps and to expand the academy's facilities. Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, the "father of the Military Academy," served as Superintendent from l8l7-l833. He upgraded academic standards, instilled military discipline and emphasized honorable conduct.

            1819-Tuesday- Dr. John Bostock sneezed and wheezed through  the first clinical description of an allergy - hay fever - at meeting of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society in London.Hay fever as a disease that affected the upper respiratory tract. Although of unknown origin, oddly enough it had nothing to do with either hay or having a fever. Hay fever, or in medical terms, seasonal allergic rhinitis, is the most widespread form of allergy, affecting more than 15 million Americans. There was nothing new about allergies of course, Perhaps the earliest report of allergic disease is that of King Menses of Egypt, who was killed by the sting of a wasp at some time between 3640 and 3300 BC. Another report from ancient history is that of Britannicus, the son of the Roman Emperor Claudius. He was allergic to horses and "would develop a rash and his eyes swelled to the extent that he could not see where he was going".

            1850 –Saturday- Attention Hester Prynne fans - The novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was published.  The introduction is an essay called “The Custom-House.” In it, narrator says he found a mysterious package–dating back two centuries–on the second floor of the Salem Custom-House, where he worked as Surveyor of the Revenue. The package contained a ragged piece of red cloth in the shape of the letter “A” and a manuscript on folio outlining the story of the woman required to wear the letter as a symbol of shame for committing adultery. Hawthorne then informs the reader that the plot of The Scarlet Letter tells the story of that woman as he imagines it to have unfolded. 

            1867-Saturday-  English physician, Joseph Lister published the first of a series of articles in the Lancet, a British medical journal, regarding his discovery of antiseptic surgery. Lister had applied Pasteur's idea that the micro-organisms that caused gangrene and other infections might be controlled with chemical solutions. He used carbolic acid (phenol) for spraying instruments, on surgical incisions, and applied to dressings. He found that this procedure substantially reduced the incidence of gangrene, Lister published his results in series of articles in the Lancet on the Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery  Of note in the contempory world where we go to the hospital for treatment and end up getting sick, is Lister’s final few sentences; “But since the antiseptic treatment has been brought into full operation, and wounds and abscesses no longer poison the atmosphere with putrid exhalations, my wards, though in other respects under precisely the same circumstances as before, have completely changed their character; so that during the last nine months not a single instance of pyaemia, hospital gangrene, or erysipelas has occurred in them.”

            1915 –Tuesday-  Happy Birthday- Kunihiko Kodaira, Japanese mathematician.  Kodaira's work covered many topics, about which we haven’t the faintest idea as to meaning.  Obviously, they were quite important since Kodaira won the Fields Medal (math equivalent of the Nobel) in 1954. His work included applications of Hilbert space methods to differential equations (as opposed to being polite with deferential equations). This was an important topic and was largely the result of influence by Herman Weyl. Like,  Sir William Vallance Douglas Hodge, he worked on harmonic integrals and later he applied this work to problem in algebraic geometry. Another important area of Kodaira's work was to apply sheaves to algebraic geometry. Later, in 1960 he became involved in the classification of compact, complex analytic spaces. One of the themes running through much of his work is the Riemann-Roch theorem and this plays an important role in much of his research. Pretty esoteric stuff n’est pas?

            1918-Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Frederick Reines, American physicist who (with his colleague, Clyde Cowan Jr.) was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for Physics for his detection in 1956 of neutrinos. The neutrino is a subatomic particle, a tiny lepton with little or no mass and a neutral charge which had been postulated by Wolfgang Pauli in the early 1930s but had previously remained undiscovered.  We also think it sounds like a breakfast energy drink.  Reines's studies produced a host of fundamental findings and a number of "firsts." These include: the first detection of neutrinos produced in the atmosphere; the study of muons (muons are the most numerous energetic charged particles at sea level. A charged particle cannot avoid losing energy by ionization.) induced by neutrino interactions underground; the first observation of the scattering of electron antineutrinos (married to uncle neutrino)  with electrons; the detection of the weak neutral current interactions of electron antineutrinos with deuterons (deuterons tried to steal Captain Kirk’s brain in an early episode of  Star Trek) ; investigations searching for neutrino oscillations (the possibility of neutrino transformations from one type to another); and, the first detection of neutrinos from a supernova.

            1926-Tuesday-  Robert Goddard launched the first liquid fuel rocket, a giant step in technology .The rocket traveled 47 ft. high and 184 ft. in distance in 2.5 seconds. Just like many of Professor Sy Yentz vacation trips, the camera recording the event ran out of film so there is no movie of this historic first rocket flight.  Rockets were invented by the Chinese, a spin-off from their invention of gunpowder--some time around the year 1000. Rockets added a new dimension to fireworks--another Chinese invention--but, invevitably, they were also applied to warfare, as missiles to set the enemy's cities on fire. Goddard’s liquid fuel rocket was based on an idea proposed independently by Hermann Oberth in Germany and also noted by Konstantin  Tsiolkovsky in Russia. It would have two lines running into its combustion chamber, one feeding fuel, the other oxygen, similar to the way a steel-cutting blowtorch operated, except here both lines carried liquids, not gases--in Goddard's design, gasoline and liquid oxygen.

            1927-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov, Soviet cosmonaut, the first man known to have died during a space mission. He flew on two space missions. On the first, he  was Command Pilot of  Voskhod I,  a day-long mission, in  Oct 1964. The second, on Soyuz 1 in April 1967, didn’t end so well. After a nearly twenty seven hour flight,  during the return to Earth, his spacecraft became entangled in its main parachute and fell several miles to earth. Komarov was killed. Komarov was the first “known” kapution.  The Soviets, as with everything else in the “workers paradise” were not exactly forthcoming about their failures in space.  There were probably quite a few more.

            1932-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday Walter Cunningham, American astronaut who was a member of  the Apollo 7 mission, first manned flight of Apollo Command and Service modules. On October 11, 1968, he tested the lunar module pilot seat (he said it was very comfy but that it should have a beverage holder and a little place for the remote control) for the eleven-day flight of Apollo 7 with Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and Donn F. Eisele

            1963 –Saturday-  The release of Puff the Magic Dragon by Peter Paul & Mary from their second album, Moving.  We note this because the record has been covered by the following:  Bing Crosby, Marlene Dietrich, (performed in German as Paff, Der Zauberdrachen) Trini Lopez, The Kingston Trio, The Seekers, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Mariko Kōda Tom Chapin, Dolly Parton, Seal, John Denver, Patsy Biscoe, Grup de Folk, (performed in Catalan as "Puff, el drac màgic"), Broken Social Scene, The Chipmunks, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Roger Whittaker, and  The Irish Rovers

            1966-Wednesday- The launch of Gemini 8.  In a crucial first step to the first step on the Moon, astronauts Neil Armstrong, later to be the first man to walk on the Moon in July 1969,  and David Scott docked their two Gemini (the other was an unmanned Atlas-Agena) craft together in space. Some candlelight, some wine, a bit of Mantovani on the record player and nine months later a little Gemini Jr. was launched into the world.  The flight lasted only 10 hours, 41 minutes because of a malfunctioning thruster that caused the spacecraft to spin uncontrollably at a rate of about one revolution per second. This caused the crew to execute the first emergency landing of a piloted U.S. spaceflight mission. However, space microbes did attach themselves to the craft, returned to Earth, and remained in suspended animation until re-energized by microwaves from cell phones and then caused the disease, Selfishius Idioticum in which non-handicapped people park in handicapped only parking spots

            1978 –Thursday-  Former Italian Prime Minister, Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the left wing terrorist, group the Red Brigades. The government and the political parties rejected the kidnappers' demands that thirteen terrorists be released from prison. After a fruitless 54-day search by security forces, Moro's body was found in May in the trunk of a car in the center of Rome.  The Red Brigades were a Marxist-Leninist group in Italy, active until about 2003. The group advocated violence and class warfare, targeting mostly businessmen and politicians.

            1995 –Thursday-  Mississippi formally ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery.But because the state never officially notified the US Archivist, the ratification is not official. The Thirteenth Amendment was officially ratified in  December 1865, when Georgia’s ratification made the necessary 2/3 majority.  This amendment was specifically rejected by Delaware on Feb 8, 1865; by Kentucky on Feb 24, 1865; by New Jersey on Mar 16, 1865; and by Mississippi on Dec 4, 1865. Florida reaffirmed its ratification on Jun 9, 1868.



721 B.C.-Thursday- The Babylonians became the first to record a lunar eclipse. as described in Ptolemy's Almages.t When the full Moon passes through the Earth's shadow, it is called a lunar eclipse. The type and length of a lunar eclipse depends upon the Moon's location relative to its orbital node. A total lunar eclipse (note in 1983 Bonnie Tyler suffered a Total Eclipse of the Heart) occurs when the Moon travels completely into the Earth's umbra, the dark inner portion of the shadow. The Moon's speed through the shadow is about one kilometer per second, and the totality may last up to nearly 107 minutes.

            45 BC –Friday- Tell me why. I don’t like Munda….Bob Geldorf and Pompey the Younger… In his last victory, Julius Caesar defeated the Pompeian forces (Pompey the Great had already been slewn in Egypt) of Titus Labienus and Pompey the Younger in the Battle of Munda (in what is now Spain) . Labienus had been one of Caesar’s top military commanders and was almost on a par with Caesar as a strategist.  Things were not looking good for Caesar’s forces as the Pompeians had the high ground.  However, Labienus, commanding the cavalry saw that Caesarian troops were attacking the main supply camp. He  broke off from the main battle with his cavalry to secure the camp, oops….Pompey's men seemed to have viewed this as a general retreat by the one man who knew Caesar so well, and panic was the result. The actions of Labienus sent Pompey's army into all out fight. Caesar's army overwhelmed the retreating enemy and was merciless in its zeal to end the civil war. Up to 30,000 men were slaughtered in the carnage, including Labienus

            493-Tuesday-  Other sources say 460 or 461 …St. Patrick’s Day honors the patron saint of Ireland on the anniversary of his death. Most of what we know of the saint is through his Confessio, an autobiographical confession written by Patrick himself, in Latin, around the year 450. It offers a unique record of life in the British Isles during those times. Born in Dunbarton, Scotland circa 387 as Patricius Magonus Sucatus, he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland as a teen, escaping probably to northern France, and returning to Ireland as a missionary after a prophetic dream. Patrick began his mission to Ireland in 432, and by his death the island was almost entirely Christian. Doing the math, a kapution in 493 would make him…..well……really old.  460 or 461 seems more reasonable.

            1762 –Wednesday- New York City - the first parade honoring the Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was held by Irish soldiers serving in the British army.  Early Irish settlers to the American colonies, many of whom were indentured servants, brought the Irish tradition of celebrating St. Patrick's feast day to America. And so the first recorded St. Patrick's Day parade was held not in Ireland but in New York City on this day. Just like today, everyone was drunk by noon and teenagers were throwing up on Fifth Avenue. In 1848, several New York Irish Aid societies decided to unite their parades to form one New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade. Today, that parade is the world 's oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States, with over 150,000 participants.

            1834-Monday- Goddaimler, well I declare, have you seen the like?Grateful DeadHappy Birthday, Gottlieb Daimler, German engineer and pioneer automobile manufacturer who invented the first high-speed internal combustion engine in 1883 and a carburetor to mix gasoline fuel and air in 1885. With Wilhelm Maybach, in 1885, 1886  he constructed  the first  four-wheeled automobile. It was able to reach the blazing speed of 11 mph.  In 1890 the Daimler company was founded at Cannstadt, and in 1899 it produced the first Mercedes car. In 1926 it merged with the company founded by Karl Benz.

            1845-Monday-  Hey, yall prepare yourself

For the Rubberband man

You never heard a sound

Like the rubberband man

Youre bound to lose control

When the Rubberband starts to jam …………The Spinners……..The rubber band was patented by Stephen Perry of London, England. Natives of Central and South America's rubber tree countries had made footwear, garments and bottles out of the tree milk for years. Sailors carried the technology back  to England. Of course the first rubber got tangled on a dock and just as the ship arrived in England, it was yanked back to South America……Anyway, in 1820, Thomas Hancock Thomas Hancock, after seeing these rubber products from the Americas, began creating (and patenting) elastic fastenings for gloves, shoes, stockings, and suspenders out of rubber. In 1837, Hancock patented a device called the masticator, which helped people masticate.  He shredded rubber in order for it to be reused in other products. In 1839, Charles Goodyear invented and patented vulcanized rubber, which held up far better to varying weather conditions than contemporary rubbers. Stephen Perry, owner of the rubber manufacturing company, Messers Perry and Co. improved on Hancock's idea and took out a patent on the rubber band. The first rubber bands were made from vulcanized rubber.  Originally, Perry created the rubber band to hold papers and envelopes together.


            1849-Saturday-  Happy Birthday Charles F. Brush (brother of Sage Brush and Tooth Brush), American inventor and industrialist who devised an electric arc lamp and a generator that produced a variable voltage controlled by the load and a constant current. It was adopted throughout the United States and abroad during the 1880's. The arc light was in use before Edison's incandescent light bulb. It was used in applications where a bright light was needed, such as street lights and the lighting of commercial and public buildings. It should not be confused with the “Noah’s Arc” light for which two of every kind of bulb was needed.  The key to the arc light was his dynamo (electric generator). The dynamo was the workhorse of the Central (power) Station, a concept developed independently by Brush and Edison, which eventually grew into the electric power generating industry.

         1861–Sunday- The  kingdom of united Italy was proclaimed at Turin, capital of Piedmont-Sardinia, in a national parliament composed of deputies elected from all over the peninsula. The 1848 Statuto (constitution)   was extended to all of Italy. Victor Emmanuel became the new country's first king. To the disappointment of many, however, he insisted on retaining his dynastic designation, he was a believer in absolute monarchy, of Victor Emmanuel II, rather than becoming Victor Emmanuel I of Italy.

            1881 – Happy Birthday Walter Rudolf Hess, Swiss neurophysiologist. Neurophysiology is branch of physiology that deals with the functions of the nervous system.  Hess proved conclusively that bodily functions, triggered by the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system, are related to the posterior and middle parts of the hypothalamus.  Working with cats, he noted that the stimulation of a certain area of the hypothalamus of a cat produces all the symptoms of rage. Stimulation of another defined area produces parasympathetic, not sympathetic, effects; the cat relaxes and falls asleep. Schrödinger's cat may or may not have been upset with these experiments.  Hess mapped out the influence of the hypothalamus, and for his work he was awarded a Nobel Prize, with Antonio Egas Moniz, in 1949.


            1898 –Thursday-  First practical submarine submerged.  It’s everywhere in the Xeroxian World of the Internet.  Closest we could come in our research was March 11, 1898. Submarine pioneer John Holland entered and won the Navy's submarine competition in 1893, with Holland V the Plunger. Holland modified this design and the result, Holland VI, was launched on May 17, 1897. She began sea trials on March 11, 1898. Quite possibly on this date, the Holland VI remained submerged for the 100 minutes described.  Holland sent the Navy the specifications for Holland VI in late 1899, and Holland's supporters mounted a strong lobbying campaign. On April 11, 1900, the Navy purchased Holland VI. The submarine was commissioned in the Navy as USS Holland (SS-1) on October 12, 1900. The Holland set the pattern for submarines for the next fifty years: Internal combustion engines that powered the ship on the surface and charged the batteries, which in turn, supplied power to electric motors when the boat submerged

            1901-Sunday “So now you tell me”….paintings by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh were shown at the Bernheim-Jeune gallery in Paris. The 71 paintings caused a sensation across the art world. Van Gogh had had committed suicide in 1890 without any idea that his work was destined to win acclaim beyond his wildest dreams. In his lifetime, he had sold only one painting, The Red Vineyard.

 Following the 1901 Paris exhibition, large exhibitions were organized in Amsterdam 1905, Cologne 1912, New York 1913 and Berlin 1914. Postumous is better than “notstumous”.

             1902 –Monday-  Happy Birthday, Bobby Jones, the American golfer who was the first winner of the Grand Slam. Note that at the time, 1930, the “grand slam” consisted of the British Amateur, the British Open, the U.S Open, and the U.S Amateur.  Nowadays, the “grand slam” -  the sobriquet is taken from the baseball term of a home run with the bases loaded- consists of the British Open, the Masters, the U.S Open, and the PGA Championship. Jones famously said, “the secret of golf is to turn three shots into two." Professor Sy Yentz is proficient at turning three shots into eight.

                1905-Friday- Three days after his 26th birthday – (see March 14 above), Albert Einstein submitted a paper titled "A heuristic point of view concerning the production and transformation of light" to Annalen der Physik, one of the  best-known and oldest (it was founded in 1799) physics journals worldwide. The paper and four others submitted by Einstein would change the way we think of physics, science, and our world.  1905 has been called Einstein’s annus mirabilis.  The first paper was quantum theory.  The second (May 11), was on Brownian motion (the behavior of small particles in a suspension), the third on September 28, was the special theory of relativity

            1905 –Friday And on the same day that Albert Einstein started changing the world, we have a social note as future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt married his fifth cousin once removed,  the remarkably unalluring, Eleanor Roosevelt, in New York. The groom was resplendent in a rented tux from Hyde Park Tuxedos and Pizza.  The bride, all aglow in a gown by Tarjai.  The reception was held at Dante’s On the Hudson with music by D J “New Deal”.

            1906-Saturday-  Nine months before the San Francisco Earthquake, a 7.1 Richter Scale  earthquake and a full day of aftershocks  devastated  Taiwan, then known as Formosa, killing over 1,200 people. It was early on a Saturday morning when the first earthquake struck, due to a shift in the Chinsekiryo and Baishiku faults lying beneath the island.

            1931 –Tuesday-  "Schick happens".  Schick, Inc., the razor company, displayed the first electric shaver in Stamford, CT. The sold their first electric razor in New York for $25 and managed to sell another 3,000 that year. Colonel Jacob Schick had invented the World’s first electric dry shaver, with oscillating blades in 1927.

            1942 –Tuesday-  General Douglas MacArthur, having left Bataan and promising to return to the Philippines,  arrived in Australia to become supreme commander of Allied forces in the southwest Pacific theater during World War II.

            1950-Friday -  Californium dreamin’ on such a winter’s day…..A new radioactive element, element 98, named "californium" was announced by scientists, Stanley G. Thompson, Glenn T. Seaborg, Kenneth Street, Jr. and Albert Ghiorso at the University of California at Berkeley. It was like a totally awesome thing and ohmygod, it like glowed and stuff…….  They bombarded atoms of curium-242 with helium ions using a the cyclotron. This produced atoms of californium-245, an isotope with a half-life of about 45 minutes, and a free neutron………. All the world over, so easy to see, Neutrons everywhere just wanna be free….The RascalsCalifornium is a metal Atomic Number: 98 - Atomic Weight: 251

            1956 –Saturday-  The 8th Emmy Awards show held at the held at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Hollywood, California. Best Situation Comedy – Phil Silvers Show (originally You’ll Never Get Rich) Inexplicably, Make Room for Daddy didn’t win.  Best Dramatic Program was Producer’s Showcase,live 90 minute productions were aired under this title every fourth Monday on NBC . Best Variety Show as Toast of the Town, later known as the Ed Sullivan Show. Best Audience Participation Show was The $64,000 Question (was this fixed?), later to be at the forefront of the quiz show scandals. Best Children’s Series, selected above Ding Dong School, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, The Pinky Lee Show, The Mickey Mouse Club, and Puppet Playhouse, was Lassie.  The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences was found in 1946 and the first Emmy Award ceremony was on January 25, 1949. The very first Emmy was awarded for Most Outstanding Television Personality and was given to Shirley Dinsdale, a 20-year-old Los Angeles ventriloquist.

            1958-Monday-  After several embarrassing failures following the October 1957 launch of Sputnik, the U.S. launched its first object into space, the Vanguard I satellite.  Launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the three-pound satellite carried a radio transmitter and orbited every 107.9 minutes. It was designed to test the launch capabilities of a three-stage launch vehicle and the effects of the environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth orbit…..but the real reason was just to get abi vos into space to answer the Soviets.   Vanguard is to this day the oldest satellite still in orbit. Original estimates had the orbit lasting for 2000 years, but it was discovered that solar radiation pressure and atmospheric drag during high levels of solar activity produced significant perturbations in the perigee height of the satellite, which caused a significant decrease in its expected lifetime to only about 240 years. The battery powered transmitter stopped operating in June 1958 when the batteries ran down. The solar powered transmitter operated until May 1964 when the last signals were received in Quito, Ecuador…last  transmission was “they’re here…they’re trying to get in….it’s got a screwdriver….it’s………arghh…… The spacecraft was then optically tracked from Earth.

            1958 – Monday- Take out the papers and the trash
Or you don't get no spendin' cash
If you don't scrub that kitchen floor
You ain't gonna rock and roll no more
Yakety yak (don't talk back)……..
And on the same day the U.S made its space breakthrough, the Coasters recorded Stiller and Leiber’s Yakety Yak (with the great sax solo by King Curtis). It would reach number 1 on the Hot 100 List.

            1966 –Thursday-  Oops…..Look under tables, in closets and behind the pillows of the sofa ….oh, there it is…A hydrogen bomb that had fallen from a U.S bomber during a mid-air collision with a fuel tanker and lost near Palomares, Spain on January 17, was located by a midget submarine, Alvin, and recovered.

            1972 –Friday-  In his home town of Baltimore, John Waters had the premiere of his epic, Pink Flamingos. IMBd reminds us the advertising line was “an exercise in poor taste.” The Eugene O’Neillesque plot involved Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine going up against Connie & Raymond Marble, a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as "The Filthiest Person Alive"

            1979 –Saturday-  The Penmanshiel  Tunnel in Grantshouse, Berwickshire, in the Scottish Borders region of Scotland.  Two workers died and the collapse led to the severance of the main railway line between London and Edinburgh for five months.

            1992 –Tuesday-  The launch of the Soyuz TM-14.  The 11th Mir Space Station crew spent the majority of its 145 days in space on Earth resource missions. Interstellar microbes returning with the craft caused an outbreak of the repetitive disease Understandingus Verbalium Replicatial which causes people to constantly say, "Ya, know what I'm sayin"...

            2008 - Dextre, the final element of the International Space Station's Mobile Servicing System, was put together during the second spacewalk of STS-123. Two arms would allow Dextre to transport objects, use tools, and install and remove equipment on the space station. Dextre was also equipped with lights, video equipment, a tool platform and four tool holders. Sensors would allow the robot to "feel" the objects it is dealing with (“really Babette, this is for scientific purposes only, now, how do I unhook this…”) and automatically react to movements or changes (“Ouch, that hurt. Why did you slap me. It told you it was just research.”). Of course space microbes were dislodged and fell to Earth where they transmorgrified into people who believe that the “f” word is an adjective.


1314 – Sunday-
Did he go away and leave you all alone?
I got a bad desire
I'm on fire …….
Bruce Springsteen… In the two centuries of their formal existence the Knights Templar served under 23 Grand Masters.  On this date, Jacques de Molay, the 23rd and the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake near Notre Dame in Paris. The official name of the Knights Templars (Templiers) was the "Order of the Poor Knights of Christ", formed in Jerusalem in 1118 to protect the pilgrims visiting Palestine at the end of the First Crusade of 1096. During the following centuries, the Knights accumulated enormous wealth and their power aroused both greed and envy. With their huge reserves of cash and their banking system, France's King Philip the Fair had gone to the Templars for loans to finance his wars. Philip needed money, the Knights had money. Pope Clement V, Philip’s puppet,  needed money.  Possibly the Knights refused Philip further loans. Philip, hardly being Fair on on Friday the 13th in the year 1307, the month of October  had all of the Templars in France rounded up and imprisoned - "Friday the 13th" has been an unlucky day since that event. De Molay was tortured for the next six years before his immolation. Yes, Philip got the money and the treasures. Many writers have claimed that de Molay in his dying breath summoned both the King of France and Pope Clement to meet him in a tribunal before God within the year. True to the claim both men did indeed die within that time.

            1541-Tuesday-  Hernando De Soto became the first to record the flooding of the Mississippi River. His contact with the native indians was always violent and brutal

            1690 –Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Christian Golbach,  born in Koenigsberg, Prussia but came to fame as a Russian mathematician. He was also a tutor to Tsar Peter II. Golbach’s contributions to number theory include Goldbach's Conjecture  which he formulated in a letter to Leonhard Euler in July of 1742. Stated in terms that possibly Professor Sy Yentz can understand, it proposes that: "Every even natural number greater than 2 is equal to the sum of two prime numbers." It has been checked by computer up to really big numbers - up to at least 4 x 1014 - but still remains unproven. Goldbach made another yet another conjecture, he seemed to like conjectures, called  the Ternary Goldbach Conjecture that every odd number is the sum of three primes, on which Ivan Vinogradov while checking trigonometric series to attack deep problems in analytic number theory made progress in 1937. It has been checked by computer for vast numbers, but remains unproven. Goldbach also studied infinite sums, the theory of curves and the theory of equations. Well?????? Someone had to do it.

            1766-Tuesday-  “Taxation without representation” – King Georgia III signed bill repealing the Stamp Act, official as of May 1, 1766. after months of colonial protests.  The Stamp Act was introduced by the British Prime Minister George Grenville and passed by the British Parliament in 1765 as a means of raising revenue in the American colonies. The Stamp Act required all legal documents, licenses, commercial contracts, newspapers, pamphlets, and playing cards to carry a tax stamp.  It was passed on March 22, 1765.

            1781-Sunday- French astronomer Charles Messier (brother of hockey star Mark Messier) rediscovered the Globular cluster Messier 92 -26,000 light years away (M92, NGC 6341), one of the more conspicuous globular clusters. It is situated in constellation Hercules.  It was originally discovered in 1777 by Johann Elert Bode. Messier, a comet hunter, kept a record of the fuzzy blurs that weren't comets, and between 1771 and 1881 published a catalog of nebulosities that included more than 100 deep sky objects. These "Messier objects" were assigned numbers (like M92)  and the catalog became an indispensable tool for future observers. Modern observations have since shown the objects to be star clusters, nebulae and galaxies.

            1834-Tuesday-  The first U.S. railroad tunnel was completed between Hollidaysburg and Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Dug through slate, the Staple Bend Tunnel was 901 feet long, 25 feet wide and 21 feet high. It was built for the Allegheny Portage Railroad, the first railroad to go west of the Alleghany Mountains. The Portage was a  combined railroad and incline system that shortened the travel time from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh from three weeks to four days.

            1837-Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th president of the U.S.  He was the only  president to serve 2 nonconsecutive terms and the only president to be married in White House and the 1st to have a child born there. Who was the 23rd  president?  Did you say Benjamin Harrison, grandson of William Henry (Ole Tippecanoe- President William Henry Harrison)? You  did?  Cleveland’s Vice Presidents were Thomas Hendricks and Adlai Stevenson. He was defeated by William Jennings Bryan for the Democratic nomination in 1896  (the famous “Cross of Gold” speech).  Bryan then lost to Republican William McKinley.

            1844 –Monday Happy Birthday, Nicolai Rimski-Korsakov, Russian composer of Fight of the Bumble Bee and and the symphonic suite Scheherazade

1852-Saturday Henry Wells and William Fargo founded Wells, Fargo & Co. “to provide banking and express service to pioneer miners, merch