Today, 8 January 2011: (from

On this date in 1880, the "ruler" Emperor Norton passed away in San Francisco. The eccentric Joshua Abraham Norton proclaimed himself "Emperor of these United States and Protector of Mexico." During his 20-year "reign," he was humored by the locals, and currency was even issued in his name.

Richard R - San Francisco/Oakland
The Twain Lane Collaborative, SF 

NON-TRIVIA: Emperor Norton was usually seen up and down and near Market Street SF, in Berkeley and elsewhere, in the company of two famous derelict dogs, _________ and __________. Twain knew them personally.

No prize will be awarded for knowing the answer w/ or w/o a lookup.

There's fun info at the SF Virtual Museum:
(including a famous Jump cartoon drawing)