Well hello there! I’m Cobwebs. Cobs, for short. Do you come here often?
Yeah, I know it’s cheesy but I couldn’t think of any other way than saying it like that in order to say hello to new people who might have stumbled across us all sat around the kitchen table having a giggle.
So anyhoo …. how the divil are you? Fine and groovy I hope. No ailments. No money troubles. And no worries which keep you awake at night, I trust. But if you have any of these, feel free to unburden yourself via a comment and I, and perhaps one of your fellow bloggers who visit here, might be able to help; come up with a solution; or just generally say encouraging things which might help to ease your pain or troubles. Everyone here really is so nice that I could squidge them all. So feel free to chat.
Well, it’s Friday again and on checking the dockets, I see that all of your parents are up to date on their payments for your Private Edumacation at the Institute of Cobwebs, so I guess that we should get on with it. Please find your seats … quietly but quickly … and get comfortable, because then I shall begin.
Ready? Ok … let’s go!
On This Day in History.
1883 – The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, New Jersey.
Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park” by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large teamwork to the process of invention, and therefore is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.
Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S. patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. He is credited with numerous inventions that contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator. Edison originated the concept and implementation of electric-power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories – a crucial development in the modern industrialised world. His first power plant was on Manhattan Island, New York.
1915 – Georges Claude patents the neon discharge tube for use in advertising. The French engineer, chemist, and inventor Georges Claude (September 24, 1870 – May 23, 1960), was the first to apply an electrical discharge to a sealed tube of neon gas (circa 1902) to create a lamp.
Inspired in part by Daniel McFarlan Moore’s invention, Moore’s Lamp, Paris-born Claude invented the neon lamp by passing an electric current through inert gases, making them glow very brightly.
In 1902 Georges Claude and businessman Paul Delorme founded L’Air Liquide S.A. (Air Liquide) based on a method to liquefy air that enabled large-scale production of oxygen. Air Liquide presently exists as a large multinational corporation headquartered in Paris, France.
In 1923, Georges Claude and his French company Claude Neon, introduced neon gas signs to the United States, by selling two to a Packard car dealership in Los Angeles. Earle C. Anthony purchased the two signs reading “Packard” for $1,250 apiece. Neon lighting quickly became a popular fixture in outdoor advertising. Visible even in daylight, people would stop and stare at the first neon signs for hours, dubbed “liquid fire.”
Being a student of Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval, the inventor of the OTEC concept, Claude was also the first person to build prototype plants of that technology. Claude built his plant in Cuba in 1930. The system produced 22 kilowatts of electricity with a low-pressure turbine.
In 1935, Claude constructed another plant, this time aboard a 10,000-ton cargo vessel moored off the coast of Brazil. Weather and waves destroyed both plants before they could become net power generators. (Net power is the amount of power generated after subtracting power needed to run the system.)
Georges Claude was also an accomplished artist painting many watercolour pictures some when on holiday in the Pyrenees (1909) in the Valli’s De Lac hon.
Claude was honoured for chemical work in World War I but stripped of his honours and sentenced to life in prison in June 1945 for collaboration with the Nazis. Claude was convicted of propaganda work favouring collaboration, but was cleared of another charge that he helped design the V-1 rocket. In 1950 Claude was released from jail, at the age of 79.
1915 – World War I: German zeppelins bomb the cities of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn in the United Kingdom, in the first major aerial bombardment of a civilian target.
1917 – Silvertown explosion: 73 are killed and 400 injured in an explosion in a munitions plant in London. The Silvertown explosion occurred in Silvertown in West Ham, Essex (now Greater London) on Friday, 19 January 1917 at 18.52. The blast occurred at a munitions factory which was producing explosives for Britain’s World War I military effort. Approximately 50 tons of TNT exploded, killing 73 people and injuring over 400, and also causing substantial damage to buildings and property in the local area. This was possibly the largest single explosion to occur in Britain up to that time, though this is difficult to ascertain as there is not an obvious way to measure the size of past explosions.
Just before 7am on 19 January 1917, a fire started at the works resulting in the detonation of 50 tons of high explosives. A large part of the factory was instantly destroyed together with several nearby buildings and streets. The flour mills and silos on the south side of the Royal Victoria Dock were badly damaged. Across the river on the Greenwich Peninsula, now the site of the Millennium Dome, one of the gas holders exploded.
Although there was a strong response from local communities, the geographical isolation of the area hindered rescue work. The cost of the damage was estimated at a quarter of a million pounds, an enormous sum at that time.
The day after the explosion, the local authorities set up the Explosion Emergency Committee to oversee rescue and rebuilding work. By mid-February 1917, more than 1,700 men were employed in repairing houses. By August most of the work was complete. The government eventually paid about three million pounds in compensation to the people affected by the disaster.
An inquiry into the incident judged that Silvertown was a totally unsuitable place for a T.N.T. plant and castigated Brunner, Mond & Co for negligence in the running of their works. The report remained secret until the 1950s.
1920 – The United States Senate votes against joining the League of Nations. The League of Nations (LoN) was a supranational organisation founded as a result of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919–1920. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to the 23 February 1935, it had 58 members. The League’s goals included disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries through negotiation, diplomacy and improving global quality of life. The diplomatic philosophy behind the League represented a fundamental shift in thought from the preceding hundred years. The League lacked its own armed force and so depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, keep to economic sanctions which the League ordered, or provide an army, when needed, for the League to use. However, they were often reluctant to do so. Sanctions could also hurt the League members imposing the sanctions and given the pacifist attitude following World War I, countries were reluctant to take military action. Benito Mussolini stated that “The League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out.”
After a number of notable successes and some early failures in the 1920’s, the League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the Axis powers in the 1930’s. The onset of the Second World War suggested that the League had failed in its primary purpose, which was to avoid any future world war. The United Nations replaced it after the end of the war and inherited a number of agencies and organisations founded by the League.
1935 – Coopers Inc. sells the world’s first briefs. Jockey International, Inc. is a manufacturer, distributor and retailer of underwear, sleep-wear, and socks for men, women, and children. The company is based in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jockey is known for having invented the first men’s Y-Front brief in 1934. Jockey is a recognised Trademark in 120 countries.
1937 – Howard Hughes sets a new air record by flying from Los Angeles, California to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.
1953 – 68% of all television sets in the United States are tuned in to I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth.
1966 – Indira Gandhi is elected Prime Minister of India. Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984) was the Prime Minister of the Republic of India for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and for a fourth term from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, a total of fifteen years. She was India’s first and, to date, only female Prime Minister.
In 1999, she was voted the greatest woman of the past 1000 years in a poll carried by BBC news, ahead of other notable women such as Queen Elizabeth I of England, Marie Curie and Mother Teresa.
Born in the politically influential Nehru dynasty, she grew up in an intensely political atmosphere. Despite the same last name, she was of no relation to the statesman Mohandas Gandhi. Her grandfather, Motilal Nehru, was a prominent Indian nationalist leader. Her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, was a pivotal figure in the Indian independence movement and the first Prime Minister of Independent India. Returning to India from Oxford in 1941, she became involved in the Indian Independence movement.
In the 1950s, she served her father unofficially as a personal assistant during his tenure as the first Prime Minister of India. After her father’s death in 1964, she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha by the President of India and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri’s cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
The then Congress Party President K. Kamaraj was instrumental in making Indira Gandhi the Prime Minister after the sudden demise of Shastri. Gandhi soon showed an ability to win elections and outmaneuver opponents through populism. She introduced more left-wing economic policies and promoted agricultural productivity. A decisive victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan was followed by a period of instability that led her to impose a state of emergency in 1975; she paid for the authoritarian excesses of the period with three years in opposition. Returned to office in 1980, she became increasingly involved in an escalating conflict with separatists in Punjab that eventually led to her assassination by her own bodyguards in 1984.
1971 – The revival of No, No, Nanette premieres at the 46th Street Theatre, in New York City. No, No, Nanette is a musical comedy with lyrics by Irving Caesar and Otto Harbach, music by Vincent Youmans, and a book by Otto Harbach and Frank Mandel.
Its songs include the well-known “Tea for Two” and “I Want to Be Happy”. It was first produced on March 11, 1925 at London’s Palace Theatre, where it starred Binnie Hale and George Grossmith, Jr. and ran for 665 performances.
1975 – Triple J begins broadcasting in Sydney, Australia. Triple J is a nationally networked, government-funded Australian radio station (a division of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation), mainly aimed at youth (defined as those between 12 and 25). Music played on the station is generally more alternative than commercial stations with a heavy emphasis on Australian music and new music. In metropolitan rating surveys Triple J usually has less than one-third the market share of its major commercial rivals, but its influence on Australian popular music belies the modest ratings, having provided a launchpad for numerous Australian recording artists and announcers.
1977 – President Gerald Ford pardons Iva Toguri D’Aquino (a.k.a. “Tokyo Rose”). Iva Ikuko Toguri D’Aquino (July 4, 1916 – September 26, 2006), a Japanese-American, was the woman most identified with “Tokyo Rose”, a generic name given by Allied forces in the South Pacific during World War II to any of approximately a dozen English-speaking female broadcasters of Japanese propaganda.
Identified by the press as Tokyo Rose after the war, she was detained for a year by the U.S. military before being released for lack of evidence. Upon return to the U.S., the Federal Bureau of Investigation began an investigation of her activities and she was subsequently charged by the United States Attorney’s Office with eight counts of treason. Her 1949 trial resulted in a conviction on one count, making her the seventh American to be convicted on that charge. In 1974, investigative journalists found key witnesses had lied during testimony and other serious problems with the conduct of the trial. She was pardoned by U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1977.
1977 – Snow falls in Miami, Florida. This is the only time in the history of the city that snowfall has occurred. It also fell in the Bahamas.
1978 – The last Volkswagen Beetle made in Germany leaves VW’s plant in Emden. Beetle production in Latin America would continue until 2003.
1981 – Iran Hostage Crisis: United States and Iranian officials sign an agreement to release 52 American hostages after 14 months of captivity. The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 U.S. diplomats were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students took over the American embassy in support of the Iranian revolution.
The crisis has been described as an entanglement of “vengeance and mutual incomprehension”. In Iran, the incident was seen by many as a blow against the U.S., its influence in Iran, its perceived attempts to undermine the Iranian Revolution, and its long-standing support of the recently overthrown autocratic Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The Shah had been restored to power by a CIA-funded coup of a democratically elected Iranian government and had recently been allowed into the United States for cancer treatment.
The ordeal reached a climax when after failed attempts to negotiate a release, the United States military attempted a rescue operation, Operation Eagle Claw, on April 24, 1980, which resulted in an aborted mission, the crash of two aircraft and the deaths of eight American military men and one Iranian civilian.
The crisis ended with the signing of the Algiers Accords in Algeria on January 19, 1981. The hostages were formally released into United States custody the following day, just minutes after the new American president Ronald Reagan was sworn in.
After months of negotiations, helped by Algerian intermediaries and the Shah’s death, US diplomacy bore fruit. On the day of President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, 20 January 1981, the hostages were set free. A day later they arrived at a US Air Force base in West Germany. Here, Airy Force attaché David Roader shouts with joy as he arrives on German soil. In return the US had agreed to unfreeze Iranian assets worth $8bn and give hostage takes immunity.
In America, the crisis is thought by some political analysts to be the primary reason for U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s defeat in the November 1980 presidential election, and described by some as the “pivotal episode” in the history of U.S.-Iranian relations. In Iran, the crisis strengthened the prestige of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the political power of forces who supported theocracy and the hostage taking. The crisis also marked the beginning of American legal action, or sanctions, that weakened economic ties between Iran and America. Sanctions blocked all property within U.S. jurisdiction owned by the Central Bank and Government of Iran.
Ticker tape parade
From Germany, the freed Americans were taken to Washington where they were given a hero’s welcome along Pennsylvania Avenue before a reception hosted by Ronald Reagan at the White House.
The crisis may have helped bury the Carter administration’s re-election hopes but it gave Mr Reagan a massive boost at the beginning of his presidency.
However, some sceptics remarked at the convenient timing of the release.
After the euphoria had subsided, awkward questions arose that have never been fully cleared up. Critics still believe Mr Reagan’s campaign team conspired to postpone the hostages’ release until after the 1980 election to prevent it helping Mr Carter’s returned to office.
Today, the embassy is still the stage for angry anniversary demonstrations in which protesters chant anti-US and Israeli slogans and burn flags and effigies.
But for the rest of the year the building serves as a museum to the revolution, opened in 2001.
Outside the door stand a bronze model based on New York’s Statue of Liberty on one side and statue portraying one of the hostages on the other.
1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, is announced.
The Apple Lisa was a personal computer designed at Apple Computer, Inc. during the early 1980’s.
The Lisa project was started at Apple in 1978 and evolved into a project to design a powerful personal computer with a graphical user interface (GUI) that would be targeted toward business customers.
Around 1982, Steve Jobs was forced out of the Lisa project , so he joined the Macintosh project instead. Contrary to popular belief, the Macintosh is not a direct descendant of Lisa, although there are obvious similarities between the systems and the final revision, the Lisa 2/10, was modified and sold as the Macintosh XL.
The Lisa was a more advanced (and far more expensive) system than the Macintosh of that time in many respects, such as its inclusion of protected memory, cooperative multitasking, a generally more sophisticated hard disk based operating system, a built-in screen saver, an advanced calculator with a paper tape and RPN, support for up to 2 megabytes of RAM, expansion slots, and a larger higher resolution display. It would be many years before many of those features were implemented on the Macintosh platform. Protected memory, for instance, did not arrive until the Mac OS X operating system was released in 2001.
The Macintosh, however, featured a faster 68000 processor (7.89 MHz) and sound. The complexity of the Lisa operating system and its programs taxed the 5 MHz Motorola 68000 microprocessor so that the system felt sluggish, particularly when scrolling in documents.
1993 – IBM announces a $4.97 billion loss for 1992, the largest single-year corporate loss in United States history.
1999 – British Aerospace agrees to acquire the defence subsidiary of the General Electric Company plc, forming BAE Systems in November 1999.
2006 – The New Horizons probe is launched by NASA on the first mission to Pluto.
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Born on this Day
1736 – James Watt, Scottish inventor (d. 1819) and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both Britain and the world.
1807 – Robert E. Lee, American Confederate general (d. 1870)
1809 – Edgar Allan Poe, American writer and poet (d. 1849)
1839 – Paul Cézanne, French painter (d. 1906)
1923 – Jean Stapleton, American actress best known for her portrayal of Edith Baines Bunker, the long-suffering, yet devoted wife of Archie Bunker.
1930 – Tippi Hedren, American actress
1935 – Johnny O’Keefe, Australian singer (d. 1978) hits include “Wild One” (1958), “Shout!” and “She’s My Baby”.
1939 – Phil Everly, American musician of The Everly Brothers fame
1940 – Mike Reid, English comedian (d. 2007)
1942 – Michael Crawford, British singer and actor
1943 – Janis Joplin, American singer (d. 1970)
1946 – Dolly Parton, American singer and actress
1947 – Rod Evans, British musician (Deep Purple)
1949 – Robert Palmer, English singer and guitarist (d. 2003)
1953 – Desi Arnaz, Jr., American actor
1954 – Katey Sagal, American actress best known for her roles in Futurama, 8 Simple Rules and Married… with Children.
1958 – Thomas Kinkade, American painter (d. 2012)
1963 – Martin Bashir, English journalist
1963 – John Bercow, English politician, Speaker of the House of Commons
1980 – Jenson Button, English race car driver
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Died on this day and remembered here
1998 – Carl Perkins, American guitarist (b. 1932)
2000 – Hedy Lamarr, Austrian-American actress, singer, and mathematician (b. 1913)
2006 – Wilson Pickett, American singer (b. 1941)
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Thought for the Day
Someone somewhere is speaking well of you. Live up to the things they’re saying.
History lesson complete. Birthdays remembered. Those who have gone before us are remembered also. And now …. It’s PLAYTIME!
What do you call a fat psychic? A four chin teller.
Why did the duck go to rehab? Because he was a quack addict!
My friend hates when I make jokes about her weight. She needs to lighten up.
The sole purpose of a child’s middle name is so they can tell when they’re really in trouble.
The fact that there is a highway to hell and a stairway to heaven says a lot about the anticipated traffic load.
Right now I’m having amnesia and deja vu at the same time! I think I’ve forgotten this before?
What are the three words guaranteed to humiliate men everywhere? ‘Hold my handbag.’ (‘purse’ for folks of the USA)
What do you call a bear with no ears? . . . ‘B’.
I went to a pet shop and asked the man behind the counter if I could buy a goldfish. He said: “Do you want an Aquarium?”. I told him I didn’t care what star sign it was.
What do you get when you cross a dyslexic, an insomniac and an agnostic? Someone who lays awake at night wondering if there’s a dog.
and finally …. a joke I used to tell my big girls when they were little girls, and they LOVED it – so much so that they took it to school and I was terrified I’d get it in the neck from the teachers because of it . . . .
Knock knock. Who’s there? Smellip . . . I’ll let you finish that one off all by yourself – say it out loud and you’ll ‘get it’.
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Well that’s me done and dusted for another Friday. Today was a busy, busy day in history, wasn’t it! phew! There will be a test later today so you’d better have been paying attention, that boy at the back there!
I hope you found something to interest you, something that might surprise you and biggest hope of all …. something to make you smile.
May your Friday be filled with smiles and peace, and may your weekend be truly wonderful, and blessed from the moment you wake up on Saturday to the moment you fall asleep on Sunday at bedtime.
Thank you for coming and sharing a coffee with me. I have such a ton of fun with you. Sending squidges ~