(RNN) – I hope it's warm where you are.
Judging by the current weather situation, if you're not at risk of frostbite just by going to get the mail that means you're reading this from the surface of the sun, because it's cold everywhere else.
It's either evidence global warming is real or evidence it's a hoax, depending on your persuasion.
I'll get rid of the John Wayne foolishness early since it's pretty sparse this week. The major names to attach to the Duke this time are people I've already talked about at some point. Lee Van Cleef was born Jan. 9, 1925, Richard Boone died Jan. 10, 1981, and Yvonne De Carlo died Jan. 8, 2007.
The only new person I can cite is Tom Mix, who was born Jan. 6, 1880. Mix was one of the first cowboy film stars and helped Wayne get a job as a stagehand when his football career ended. Wayne was used as an uncredited extra in one of Mix's signature films – Destry Rides Again.
Here are some of the events of note that happened between Jan 6-12.
Elvis Presley was born Jan. 8, 1935, and was supposed to star with Wayne in True Grit, but Glen Campbell got the part instead when Presley demanded top billing over Wayne.
There are three categories of famous that are distinguished by your response when someone asks who that person is. There is the Kardashian division, which is people who are famous and you can't explain why, there is the Kennedy division, which is people who are famous and you know exactly why and can easily explain it, and then there is the Elvis division (note the use of first name instead of last), which is people who have achieved such a high level of fame that you can't explain why they're famous because you never thought you'd have to.
It's actually easy to not know much about Elvis, because you don't need to. You just know he's Elvis, and that's enough. Anyway, Elvis is the best-selling solo artist in music history and is in 13 halls of fame, including the Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
Fights have been started over what the best Elvis song is, with Heartbreak Hotel, Jailhouse Rock, Hound Dog, Love Me Tender, Blue Suede Shoes, Don't Be Cruel, Viva Las Vegas, Suspicious Minds and Can't Help Falling in Love among the most popular. His version of Blue Christmas is also considered one of the best Christmas songs.
One of the most famous pictures ever taken of Elvis was with then-President Richard Nixon, who was born Jan. 9, 1913. Nixon shares a birthday with Gilligan – Bob Denver (1935) – and Kate Middleton (1982).
Other political births this week are Millard Fillmore, who was born Jan. 7, 1800, and Alexander Hamilton, who was born Jan. 11, 1755. Theodore Roosevelt died Jan. 6, 1919, and former first lady Lou Henry Hoover died Jan. 7, 1944.
Joan of Arc was born Jan. 6, 1412, Howard Stern was born Jan. 12, 1954, and Nicholas Cage was born Jan. 7, 1964. Francis Scott Key died Jan. 11, 1843.
The long-bearded guy from the Oak Ridge Boys, William Lee Golden, was born Jan. 12, 1939, Wizard of Oz scarecrow Ray Bolger was born Jan. 10, 1904, firearms manufacturer Samuel Colt died Jan. 10, 1862, music legend Lou Rawls died Jan. 6, 2006, television producer Sheldon Leonard died Jan. 10, 1997, electrical pioneer Nikola Tesla died Jan. 7, 1943, and racehorse Affirmed died Jan. 12, 2001.
All in the Family made its television debut Jan. 12, 1971. The show became famous for introducing a wide variety of taboo topics onto American television, including racism, homosexuality and various political topics.
TV Guide named it the No. 4 greatest TV show of all time, Bravo named Archie Bunker, the show's central character, as the greatest TV character of all time and the Writer's Guild of America named it the fourth best written show of all time.
All in the Family spawned the most spin-offs in TV history with five, and it also has one of the most recognizable theme songs in TV history.
Mississippi seceded Jan. 9, 1861, Florida seceded Jan. 10, 1861, and Alabama seceded Jan. 11, 1861. Connecticut became a state Jan. 9, 1788, and New Mexico became a state Jan. 6, 1912. Connecticut is home to ESPN, which shouldn't be a selling point, but I'll let Connecticut stay anyway. New Mexico is home to the American International Rattlesnake Museum. I don't want to make rattlesnakes mad, so I'll let New Mexico stay, too.
The world's oldest underground railway, the London Underground opened Jan. 10, 1863, Galileo first observed four moons of Jupiter on Jan. 7, 1610, the first oil gusher in Texas was struck Jan. 10, 1901, Grand Canyon National Monument was created Jan. 11, 1908, Rocky Mountain National Park was formed Jan. 12, 1915, and the iPhone was unveiled Jan. 9, 2007.
The U.S. national debt was paid off in full for the only time ever Jan. 8, 1835, George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address Jan. 8, 1790, FDR outlined his Four Freedoms on Jan 6, 1941, and former Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot Jan. 8, 2011. Giffords suffered a gunshot wound to the head, but survived. Six people were killed in the shooting.
Kenesaw Mountain Landis was elected baseball's first commissioner Jan. 12, 1921.
One of the biggest upsets in American sports history happened Jan. 12, 1969, in Super Bowl III. It was the third championship game between the AFL and NFL, but the first game to be labeled the Super Bowl.
New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed a win over the Baltimore Colts – who were 18-point favorites – at a speaking engagement Jan. 9, and delivered with a 16-7 win three days later. The Jets won easily, and led 16-0 before Baltimore scored a late touchdown. The Colts recovered an onside kick, but were unable to score again.
Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked Jan. 6, 1994, prior to the U.S. national championships in an effort to keep her from making the Olympic team to free up a space for rival Tanya Harding. Initially, the attack appeared successful, but Kerrigan only suffered a severe bruise and was able to recover in time for the Olympics, where she took the silver medal. Harding also qualified for the Olympics, but performed poorly and suffered a famous problem with the laces on one of her skates and finished eighth.
Bleacher Report recently published an excellent in-depth look at the event.
Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 B.C., on a date generally accepted as Jan. 10. The Rubicon is a river in Italy that served as the border between Italy and the Roman provinces. It was illegal for provincial generals to command an army in Italy, so crossing the border meant initiating a civil war.
The war took four years, but Caesar won and became Perpetual Dictator of Rome. The phrase "crossing the Rubicon" now means passing a point of no return.
Andrew Jackson led the U.S. to victory in the last major battle of the War of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans on Jan. 8, 1815. Despite being outnumbered more than 2:1, American defensive positions held against the attacking British due to a heavy artillery barrage and accurate rifle fire.
The battle was over in less than an hour and made Jackson a hero, even though it played no role in the outcome of the war. The Treaty of Ghent, which ended the war, had been signed two weeks earlier, but word of the agreement had not yet reached the United States.
The battle inspired the song The Battle of New Orleans that details the battle in a comically exaggerated manner.
The British Empire reclaimed the Sinai Peninsula from the Ottoman Empire in World War I at the Battle of Rafa, which was fought Jan. 9, 1917. The victory came on the one-year anniversary of an Ottoman victory in the Battle of Gallipoli.
Houseplant Appreciation Day is Jan. 10. Give your plants water and food. I have two plants and I never know when they need water. One of them is a small tree that looks and feels dead, but I water it about once a week and it seems to be growing. The other looks kind of like an aloe plant, but I know it's not. It's definitely alive, because new shoots have been popping up.
We've come full circle.
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