Daily Calendar for Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Question of the Day

Is it true that Benjamin Franklin invented an odometer?
Yes. While Franklin (1706-90) was postmaster in Philadelphia, he created an odometer to measure postal route distances and attached the contraption to his carriage. However, other inventors preceded him.

Roman engineer Vitruvius (1st century B.C.) once described an odometer. He is generally credited as the first inventor, although some historians believe that the actual creator was Greek scientist Archimedes (c.287-212 B.C.). 1st century Greek scientist Heron (aka Hero) of Alexandria also described an odometer in his work Dioptra. Chinese scholar Zhang (aka Chang) Heng (78-139 A.D.), invented an odometer, as well. French scientist Blaise Pascal (1623-62) came up with an odometer prototype called the Pascaline, and English engineer Thomas Savery (c.1650-1715) invented an odometer for ships.

Advice of the Day

When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody will believe them. —The Old Farmer’s Almanac, 1832

Home Hint of the Day

You can protect barn boards or any other rough-finish paneling from the drying effects of a wood stove by applying a coat of equal parts boiled linseed oil and turpentine. Apply the mixture with a paintbrush.

Word of the Day

Work of little or no value done merely to look busy.

Puzzle of the Day

How does the transposition of the parts of a word express the difference between a welcome and a wish for your departure?
Wel-fare and fare-well.


  • Benjamin Franklin (U.S. statesman ) –
  • James Madison Randolph (grandson of Thomas Jefferson; first baby born in the White House) –
  • Anne BrontΓ« (novelist) –
  • Al Capone (gangster) –
  • Betty White (actress) –
  • Eartha Kitt (American singer ) –
  • James Earl Jones (actor) –
  • Shari Lewis (actress and puppeteer, best know for Lamb Chop) –
  • Maury Povich (talk show host) –
  • Muhammad Ali (boxer) –
  • Mick Taylor (musician) –
  • Andy Kaufman (comedian & actor) –
  • Steve Harvey (actor and television host) –
  • Jim Carrey (actor) –
  • Michelle Obama (U.S. First Lady) –


  • Thomas Lincoln (father of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln) –
  • John Baker (Canada’s last ex-slave) –
  • Chang and Eng Bunker (Siamese twins) –
  • Rutherford B. Hayes (19th U.S. president) –
  • Camilo Jose Cela (won the 1989 Nobel Prize in Literature for works such as The Family of Pascual Duarte) –
  • Harvey Matusow (former aide to Sen. McCarthy who was imprisoned for lying before the House of Un-American Activities) –
  • Norman Kay (dubbed the Babe Ruth of bridgeβ€β€œ) –
  • Gertrude Janeway (the last widow of a Union veteran from the Civil War) –
  • Noble Willingham (actor) –
  • Virginia Mayo (actress) –
  • Art Buchwald (humorist) –
  • Bobby Fischer (champion chess player) –
  • Johnny Otis (musician; known as the godfather of R&B) –


  • Andrew S. Hallidie received a patent for a cable car system–
  • Meeting held to form the Professional Golfers Association–
  • The first Volkswagen Beetle arrived in the United States from Germany–
  • President Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address on television–
  • Simon and Garfunkel released their album, Sounds of Silence–
  • Gary Gilmore was the first person legally executed in the U.S. after the death penalty was reinstated–
  • British Telecom announced the retirement of Britain’s red telephone boxes–
  • 6.7 earthquake occurred in Northridge, California–


  • St. Elmo’s fire occurred in the Connecticut River Valley–
  • Seventeen degrees below zero F, Millsboro, Delaware–
  • Washington, D.C., had a temperature of -5 degrees F–
  • Chicago, Illinois, had a temperature of -23 degrees F–
  • Boulder, Colorado, had wind gusts up to 135 mph–
  • Snow and hail fell in Los Angeles and Malibu, California–
  • St. John’s, Newfoundland, recorded new record for most snow in one day with 30 inches (76.2 centimeter) –

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