Surprise! The Battle for Absolute Power
When the war between Livonia and Russia became grim for Livonia, the leadership was dissolved and various duchies were scooped up by Lithuania as per treaty. At this time Lithuania is massive and includes Poland and most of Ukraine. The hope in becoming part of Lithuania was to become so large that Ivan the Terrible would back off, but instead, he has occupied much of Livonia. (FYI... Livonia had a piece of paper to protect them but not Lithuanian troops.) Now Ivan's armies are attacking cites in Lithuania proper. This is a critical error for Ivan. In a surprise attack, Lithuanian forces hit the Russian forces marching near the Ula River. The Lithuanians are vastly outnumbered but the Russians are totally unprepared for battle. A few days later the Lithuanians hit the second of the two Russian armies. Believing that the main host of the Lithuanian army is upon them, the Russians retreat, relinquishing their conquered cities. It is a resounding defeat for the Russians. 
Rats and the King Rodent of Christmas
Rats are found joined at the tail in a bizarre linkage called a "rat king". This collection of rats is joined in various ways. Sometimes their tails are simply tangled together in some foreign substance such as hair or frozen together in ice. Other times their tails are knotted together, either in a tangle or so damaged that scar tissue forms. The phrase "Rat King" existed before this rat phenomenon was discovered. It usually referred to an elderly man who lived on the efforts of his children. Naturally, these rats are seen as an evil omen and old-man parasites are not well-loved either. 
Oh Baby! A Lot of Famous People are Born *
- Born in Pisa. Using a telescope, his observations of Jupiter will convince him that the Earth orbits around the Sun. He will come under scrutiny of the Church but he will avoid the worst charges with a lot of CYA memos. 
- Born in Stratford-upon-Avon. He will become one of the greatest poets and playwrights in history. Some people believe he didn't actually write all those plays but this is a fringe hypothesis.  
- Born in Canterbury. He will greatly influence Shakespeare and become one of greatest playwrights of the Elizabethan Age. He will also become a spy and die under mysterious circumstances... or perhaps he faked his own death. 
- Born in Japan. He will become a Jesuit and crucified in Nagasaki. He will deliver a sermon from the cross, forgiving his persecutors. The Pope will saint him in 1862 along with several others crucified that day. 
This Year on Wikipedia
Year 1564, Wikipedia.
- * The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
- Battle of Ula - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 April 2015. “The Lithuanian surprise attack resulted in a decisive defeat of the numerically superior Russian forces.”
- Oprichnina - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 23 April 2015. “Ivan IV agreed to return on condition that he may prosecute people for treason outside legal limitations. He demanded that he execute and confiscate the land of traitors without interference from the boyar council or church. To pursue his investigations, Ivan decreed the creation of the oprichnina (originally a term for land left to a noble widow, separate from her children's land). He also raised a levy of 100,000 rubles to pay for the oprichnina”
- Lord Acton (in a letter to Mandell Creighton, 5 April 1887) (2015). Power - Wikiquote. en.wikiquote.org. Retrieved on 23 April 2015. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
- Quote About absolute power, power, corruption, ambition. PoliticalQuotes.org (2015). Retrieved on 23 April 2015. “Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat.”
- Alex Shrugged notes: Many attribute this 'power' quote to John Lehman, Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, but Wikiquotes says that this is erroneous and my sense is that they are correct.
- Rat king (folklore) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 April 2015. “Rat kings involve a number of rats intertwined at their tails, which become stuck together with, for instance, blood, dirt, ice, horse-hair, or feces—or simply knotted. The animals reputedly grow together while joined at the tails.”
- The Nutcracker and the Mouse King - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 22 April 2015. “The grandfather clock begins to chime, and Marie believes she sees Drosselmeyer sitting on top of it, preventing it from striking. Mice begin to come out from beneath the floor boards, including the seven-headed Mouse King. The dolls in the toy cabinet come alive and begin to move, the nutcracker taking command and leading them into battle after putting Marie's ribbon on as a token. The battle at first goes to the dolls, but they are eventually overwhelmed by the mice.”
- Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker New York City Ballet, 1993. YouTube (2015). Retrieved on 22 April 2015.
- Dava Sobel. Galileo's Daughter: a Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love. Walker & Co.. ISBN 0802713432. “By accepted practice among established Tuscan families in the mid-sixteenth century, when Galileo was born, the eldest son might well receive a Christian name derived from his parents' surname. Accordingly, Vincenzio Galilei and his new wife, Giulia Ammannati Galilei, attracted no special attention when they gave the name Galileo to their first child, born at Pisa on the fifteenth day of February in the year of our Lord 1564. (The year was actually recorded as 1563 in the chronicles of that period, however, when New Year's Day fell on March 25--The feast of the Annunciation.)”
- William Shakespeare - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 22 April 2015. “Shakespeare was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon.”
- Shakespeare authorship question - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 22 April 2015. “Anti-Stratfordians—a collective term for adherents of the various alternative-authorship theories—say that Shakespeare of Stratford was a front to shield the identity of the real author or authors, who for some reason did not want or could not accept public credit.”
- Christopher Marlowe - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 22 April 2015. “He greatly influenced William Shakespeare, who was born in the same year as Marlowe and who rose to become the pre-eminent Elizabethan playwright after Marlowe's mysterious early death.”
- Paulo Miki - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 22 April 2015. “On arriving in Nagasaki—which today has the largest Catholic population in Japan—Miki was crucified on February 5, 1597. He preached his last sermon from the cross, and it is maintained that he forgave his executioners, stating that he himself was Japanese. Crucified alongside him were Joan Soan (de Gotó) and Santiago Kisai, also of the Society of Jesus; along with twenty-three other clergy and laity, all of whom were canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1862.”