January 5

On this day in 1914, automotive pioneer Henry Ford announced a minimum wage of $5 for an 8-hour work day. To offset the cost of this radical move, Ford announced the opening of new factories in Mexico and South Korea.

On this day in 1949, in a State of the Union address, President Harry Truman dubbed his administration the "Raw Deal."

On this day in 1896, German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen discovered the X-ray as a means of looking inside his dog in a desperate search for a missing set of keys.

Today's Birthdays:

Robert Duvall, 73: actor, Oscar nominee for his role as a homosexual mafia hitman in "The Fairy Godfather."

Diane Keaton, 58: actress, starred in "Looking for Mr. Nestle's Crunch Bar."

January 6

On this day in 1838, Samuel Morse gave the first public demonstration of his telegraph. The clever Morse also cracked the previously indecipherable Morse Code on the very same day.

On this day in 1941, President Roosevelt delivered his famous "Four Freedoms" speech: guaranteeing freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear and freedom to choose your own brand of cigarette.

Today's Birthdays:

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931): Lebanese-American poet and artist, author of "The Prophet" and its capitalist companion "The Profit."

Louis Harris, 83: pollster, conducted a survey revealing that 96 percent of all Americans believe there are too many damn polls.


January 7

On this day in 1610, Galileo was the first astronomer to be mooned by Jupiter.

On this day in 1927, commercial trans-Atlantic telephone service was inaugurated between New York and London when President Calvin Coolidge called an English bookie to lay down a bet on a big polo match.

Today's Birthdays:

Millard Fillmore (1800-1874): served as 13th U.S. president, later ran as the nominee of the Know-Nothing Party in 1856, pledging to "wipe out knowledge in our lifetime."

Katie Couric, 47: co-host of the "Today" show, recently scored a hard-hitting scoop with her report that vanilla is still very popular.

Nicolas Cage, 40: actor, won the Oscar for his role as a hard-drinking nuclear scientist in "Leaving Los Alamos."


January 8

On this day in 1894, fire caused serious damage at the World's Fair in Chicago when performer "Torchy the Fire-Breathing Albino" got into a fracas with "Willie the Gasoline-Blooded Lizard Boy."

On this day in 1918, President Woodrow Wilson unveiled his 14-point plan for peace after World War I. Wilson's program defeated Russia's 12-point plan by a score of 14-12.

On this day in 1964, saying he hadn't had a decent meal in two months and that his wingtip shoes were worn through, President Lyndon Johnson declared a "War on Poverty."

Today's Birthdays:

Elvis Presley (1935-1977): king of rock 'n' roll, hit songs included "Heart Bypass Hotel."

Larry Storch, 81: actor, starred in the foul-mouthed 1960s TV series "F--- Troop."

Stephen Hawking, 62: physicist, author of "A Brief History of Slime."


January 9
On this day in 1861, Mississippi seceded from the Union after a bitter dispute over how many S's there are in the state's name.

On this day in 1964, rioting broke out at the Panama Canal after several cargo ships pulled up only to find a sign that read: "Gone Fishin' Please use detour around tip of South America."

Today's Birthdays:

Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994): noted White House crook, only U.S. president to get fired.

Bob Denver, 69: thespian, got frisky with the movie star before being voted off of "Gilligan's Temptation Island."

Jimmy Page, 57: philosopher-rock star, with Led Zeppelin recorded "Dazed and Enlightened" and "Metaphysical Graffiti."


January 10
On this day in 1776, Thomas Paine published his influential pamphlet on indigenous North American plant life, "Common Scents."

On this day in 1861, Florida seceded from the Union over a bitter dispute about whether slaves could retire to St. Petersburg when they turned 65.

On this day in 1920, the League of Nations was established. Later in the year, Germany defeated Austria in sudden-death overtime in the first league championship.

Today's Birthdays:

Rod Stewart, 59: singer, hit #1 with "Do Ya Think I'm Dorky?"

George Foreman, 55: burger-munching boxer who brought new meaning to the words "heavyweight champion."


January 11
On this day in 1913, Hudson, the first sedan-type vehicle, made its debut at a New York auto show. Viewers marveled at the new horseless carriage's "dung-free emissions system."

On this day in 1964, the U.S. Surgeon General issued the first report suggesting that "sucking poisonous smoke into the lungs may be hazardous to one's health."

Today's Birthdays:

Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804): first secretary of the U.S. Treasury, died after a gunfight with Aaron "This Town Ain't Big Enough For the Both of Us" Burr.

Jean Chretien, 70: 20th prime minister of Canada, inventor of the hair-color restoring Chretien Formula.