February 16

On this day in 1959, Fidel Castro overthrew Cuban President Batista, who was found in a ditch outside Havana with first-degree cigar burns over 60 percent of his body.

On this day in 1804, a U.S. fleet raided Tripoli Harbor in direct violation of the harbor's strict "Make No Wake" policy.

On this day in 1868, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was founded by a guy who had been kicked out of a rival club called the Benevolent and Protective Order of Sea Monkeys.

Today's Birthdays:

Edgar Bergen (1903-1978): ventriloquist, best known for making fun of the president with his dummy, Woodrow "Woody" Wilson.

LeVar Burton, 47: actor, played Lt. Kunta Kinte, a former slave who escaped onto a spaceship in "Star Trek: The Roots Generation."

Ice-T, 45: actor-rapper, best known for his violent commercials for Lipton Iced Tea.

February 17

On this day in 1979, Garrison Keillor launched his radio show about small-town midwestern hookers, "A Prairie Ho Companion."

On this day in 1904, Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly" was poorly received at its premiere, until it was renamed "Madame Butterfly's Shocking Sex Fantasy."

On this day in 1817, Baltimore became the first city to be illuminated with gas streetlamps, and the first to be hit with gas streetlamp vandalism.

Today's Birthdays:

Alan Bates, 70: actor, starred as acne-ridden, socially inept Zorba in "Zorba the Geek."

Rene Russo, 50: actress, played opposite Joe Pesci's Saddam Hussein in "Lethal Weapon of Mass Destruction."

Michael Jordan, 41: basketball god, hairless leader of a generation of bald men.

Lou Diamond Phillips, 41: actor, starred in the timeless classic about a young Hispanic deer, "La Bambi."

February 18

On this day in 1972, the California Supreme Court struck down the state's death penalty. All those executed prior to 1972 were "de-electrocuted" and returned to death row.

On this day in 1885, Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was published and was immediately banned due to its shocking use of the grammatically incorrect term "ain't."

On this day in 1861, Jefferson Davis became president of the Confederate States of America and named the legendary "Dukes of Hazzard" to his cabinet as Secretaries of Transportation.

Today's Birthdays:

Yoko Ono, 71: singer, best known for her songs "I Am the Banshee" and "All You Need is Screeching."

John Travolta, 50: actor, received Oscar nominations for his role as the charismatic Theodore Cleaver in "Saturday Night Beaver."

Vanna White, 47: host of the sadistic game show "Wheel of Torture."

Matt Dillon, 40: actor, starred in "There's Something About Mary Magdalene."

Molly Ringwald, 36: actress, starred in "Sixteen Cannibals" and "The Flesh-Eating Breakfast Club."

February 19

On this day in 1878, Thomas Edison received a patent for his phonograph and a Grammy for his soulful recording of "Hoochie Coochie Man."

On this day in 1803, Congress voted to admit Ohio into the union, but insisted it stop calling itself "The Bug-Eye State."

On this day in 1881, Kansas became the first state to ban booze after the governor's 16-year-old son came home from a frat party drunk on corn brandy and singing "Louie, Louie."

Today's Birthdays:

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543): Polish astronomer, theorized that the sun was at the center of the solar system, somewhere near Cleveland.

Smokey Robinson, 64: singer, Motown hits included his salute to an alcoholic circus performer, "Beers of a Clown."

Jeff Daniels, 49: actor, starred in Disney's vicious "101 Pit Bulls" and the X-rated "Hum and Hummer."

Benicio Del Toro, 37: actor, starred in "The Usual Corporate Securities Fraud Suspects."

February 20

On this day in 1792, President Washington signed an act to establish the U.S. Post Office, but the grand opening ceremony was delayed when the paperwork got lost in the mail.

On this day in 1933, the House of Representatives agreed on action to repeal Prohibition, then celebrated with a toast -- 216 members drank scotch, 216 drank whiskey and 3 abstained.

On this day in 1962, John Glenn became the first U.S. man to orbit the Earth, celebrating with a swig from his flask of vodka and Tang.

Today's Birthdays:

Ansel Adams (1902-1984): photographer, best known for his photos of the animated gunslinger Yosemite Sam shooting Bugs Bunny in the back.

Gloria Vanderbilt, 80: fashion designer, creator of blueberry-flavored jeans and the gazelle lung handbag.

Sidney Poitier, 77: actor, starred in "To Sir Isaac Newton With Love" and "In the Heat of the One-Night Stand."

Patricia Hearst, 50: newspaper heiress, socialite and fashionable and kidnap victim.

Cindy Crawford, 38: model, has appeared in the annual "Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Porn Issue."

February 21

On this day in 1885, the Washington Monument was dedicated with a plaque proclaiming it to be: "The mother of all phallic symbols."

On this day in 1972, President Richard Nixon began his historic trip to China flanked by two high-ranking pandas, Ling-Ling and Sing-Sing.

On this day in 1975, former White House aide H.R. Puffenstuff was sentenced to eight years in Pee-Wee's Maximum-Security Playhouse for his role in the Watergate coverup.

Today's Birthdays:

Rue McClanahan, 70: actress, starred in the hip TV crime show "Maude Squad."

Tyne Daly, 58: actress, persuaded Hollywood legend James Cagney to dress up as a "broad" for his role in the popular TV crime drama "Cagney and Lacey."

Olympia Snowe, 57: U.S. senator, R-Maine, sponsored legislation shortening Maine winters from five or six months down to three.

Kelsey Grammer, 49: actor, has been playing the character "Frasier" since 1959.

Jennifer Love Hewitt, 25: actress, starred in the horror film "I Know Who You Banged Summer."

February 22

On this day in 1819, disgruntled by the poor play of the Miami Dolphins, Spain signed Florida over to the U.S.

On this day in 1879, Frank Woolworth opened his first five-and-dime in Utica, N.Y., with his famous slogan: "Special on duct tape in aisle six."

On this day in 1987, pop culture artist Andy Warhol died at age 58 in a New York City hospital after 15 minutes of artificial respiration and a bowl of Campbell's tomato soup.

Today's Birthdays:

George Washington (1732-1799): first U.S. president, believed to be the last one who "could not tell a lie."

Edward M. Kennedy, 72: U.S. senator, D-Mass., once sponsored legislation requiring the nation's "hot chicks" to serve him booze and sleep with him.

Jeri Ryan, 36: actress, starred as the alluring 7.9% APR in "Star Trek: Plymouth Voyager."

Drew Barrymore, 28: actress, starred in "E.T.: The Extra Testicle" and the blockbuster silent film "Charlie Chaplin's Angels."