Monday, December 31, 2007

Rick Nelson died today – 22 years ago

U.S. singer Eric Hilliard "Ricky" Nelson was born on May 8, 1940 in Teaneck, New Jersey. He said, “You can't please everyone so you gotta please yourself." [Amen!]... Mr. Nelson died in 1985 in a plane crash in De Kalb, Texas.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Artie Shaw died today – 3 years ago

U.S. bandleader Artie Shaw was born as Arthur Jacob Arshawsky on May 23, 1910 in New York City, New York. He was married to Jane Cairns, Margaret Allen, Lana Turner, Betty Kern, Ava Gardner, Kathleen Winsor, Doris Dowling, and Evelyn Keyes. (Oh, my!) Enjoy his “Begin the Beguine” here. He said, “Shoot for the moon - if you miss you'll end up in the stars." [Or, in the path of a comet or meteor.]... Mr. Shaw died in 2004 in Thousand Oaks, California.

Richard Rodgers died today – 28 years ago

U.S. composer Richard Charles Rodgers was born on June 28, 1902 in New York City, New York. He said, “What's wrong with sweetness and light? It's been around quite awhile." [Amen!]... Mr. Rodgers died in 1979 in New York City, New York.

Alfred North Whitehead died today – 60 years ago

English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead was born on February 15, 1861 in Ramsgate, Kent, England. He said, “Knowledge keeps no better than fish." [Does that mean to use it, not just to store it?]... Mr. Whitehead died in 1947 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bob Monkhouse died today – 4 years ago

English comic Robert Allen Monkhouse was born on June 1, 1928 in Beckenham, Kent, England. He said, “The last time I was in Spain I got through six Jeffrey Archer novels. I must remember to take enough toilet paper next time." [Oh, my! Don’t tell Jeffrey.]... Mr. Monkhouse died in 2003 in Eggington, Bedfordshire, England.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Susan Sontag died today – 3 years ago

U.S. writer Susan Sontag was born as Susan Rosenblatt on January 16, 1933 in New York City, New York. She said, “Societies need to have one illness which becomes identified with evil, and attaches blame to its victims." [Amen!]... Ms. Sontag died in 2004 in New York City, New York.

Theodore Dreiser died today – 62 years ago

U.S. writer Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser was born on August 27, 1871 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He said, “Our civilization is still in a middle stage, scarcely beast, in that it is no longer wholly guided by instinct; scarcely human, in that it is not yet wholly guided by reason." [You have a mind. So use it.]... Mr. Dreiser died in 1945 in Hollywood, California.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Amy Vanderbilt died today – 33 years ago

U.S. etiquettist Amy Vanderbilt was born on July 22, 1908 in New York City, New York. She said, “Good manners have much to do with the emotions. To make them ring true, one must feel them, not merely exhibit them." [Sing 'em, if you must.]... Ms. Vanderbilt died in 1974 in New York City, New York.

Lester Bowles Pearson died today – 35 years ago

Canadian Prime Minister (14th, 1963-1968) Lester Bowles Pearson was born on April 23, 1897 in Newtonbrook, Ontario. He said, “The grim fact is that we prepare for war like precocious giants, and for peace like retarded pygmies." [Amen!]... Mr. Pearson died in 1972 in Ottawa, Ontario.

Charles Lamb died today – 173 years ago

English writer Charles Lamb was born on February 10, 1775 in Inner Temple, London, England. He said, “The most common error made in matters of appearance is the belief that one should disdain the superficial and let the true beauty of one's soul shine through. If there are places on your body where this is a possibility, you are not attractive - you are leaking." [Oh, good grief! And I thought I had it covered with a good anti-leaky anti-perspirant.]... Mr. Lamb died in 1834 in Edmonton, London, England.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

CNN’s Allan Chernoff needs math lesson.

This morning CNN’s Allan Chernoff reported about how Harvard is restructuring its tuition and fees for schooling. For those making $60,000 to $180,000 per year, the new fee will be 10% of the family's income. That's real nice. But the blooper came when Mr. Chernoff said that Harvard's new fees will “cost the school 22 million dollars a year. That is not even 2/3 of one percent of Harvard’s endowment” of $35 billion.

Hello! That's not even 2/3 of 1/10 of one percent of it. Figure it out:

1 percent of $35,000,000,000 is $350,000,000. That's 350 million dollars.

1/10 of that is 35 million dollars.

$22 million is less than 2/3 of that.

Maybe we should overlook it. After all, CNN is "America's most trusted" blah, blah, blah. And then there's all those billions and billions of dollars wasted - I mean, spent in Iraq, etc.

But according to CNN,"Chernoff ... is a career advisor for Brown University students. He was a former board member and secretary of the New York Financial Writers Association... Chernoff earned a bachelor of arts degree from Brown University." (Maybe he skipped the math classes.)

We need much better... Hey, CNN, you want to hire me to proofread?

Update (Jan. 1, 2008): Steven Roy Goodman wrote in "The real story on Harvard's generosity" that Harvard could have spent a LOT more money. Check it out.

Gerald Ford died today – 1 year ago

U.S. President (38th, 1974-1977) Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. was born as Leslie Lynch King, Jr. on July 14, 1913 in Omaha, Nebraska. He said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." [So watch it.]... Mr. Ford died in 2006 in Rancho Mirage, California.

Jason Robards died today – 7 years ago

U.S. actor Jason Nelson Robards, Jr. was born on July 26, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois. He said, “All I know is, I don't do a lot of analysis. I know those words have to move me. I rely on the author. I don't want actors reasoning with me about 'motivation' and all that bull. All I want 'em to do is learn the goddamn lines and don't bump into each other." [Tell ‘em.]... Mr. Robards died in 2000 in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Curtis Mayfield died today – 8 years ago

U.S. singer Curtis Mayfield was born on June 3, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. He said, “Maybe the words that I say is just another way to pray." [Maybe... May-be!]... Mr. Mayfield died in 1999 in Roswell, Georgia.

Elsa Lanchester died today – 21 years ago

Actress Elsa Lanchester was born as Elsa Sullivan Lanchester on October 28, 1902 in Lewisham, London, England. She said, “I thought she was a Method Actress. Afterwards somebody informed me that she was merely a manic-depressive.” [Ha. Ha. Ha!]... Ms. Lanchester died in 1986 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California.

Jack Benny died today – 33 years ago

U.S. comic Jack Benny was born as Benjamin Kubelsky on February 14, 1894 in Chicago, Illinois. He said, “Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." [Who cares how many times the earth’s revolved around the sun? That’s its problem.]... Mr. Benny died in 1974 in Beverly Hills, California.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

James Brown died today – 1 year ago

U.S. singer James Joseph Brown was born on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina. Watch him with Pavarotti here. He said, “Disco is James Brown, hip-hop is James Brown, rap is James Brown; you know what I'm saying? You hear all the rappers, 90 percent of their music is me." [It’s all me, me, me!]... Mr. Brown died in 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dean Martin died today – 12 years ago

U.S. singer and actor Dean Martin was born as Dino Paul Crocetti on June 7, 1917 in Steubenville, Ohio. He said, “I feel sorry for people who don't drink. They wake up in the morning and that's the best they're going to feel all day." [Not necessarily.]... Mr. Martin died in 1995 in Beverly Hills, California.

Joan Blondell died today – 28 years ago

U.S. actress Rose Joan Blondell was born on August 30, 1906 in New York City, New York. She said, “There's a very fine line between underacting and not acting at all. And not acting is what a lot of actors are guilty of. It amazes me how some of these little numbers with dreamy looks and a dead pan are getting away with it. I'd hate to see them on stage with a dog act.” [Who'd be looking at the dogs?]... Ms. Blondell died in 1979 in Santa Monica, California.

Charlie Chaplin died today – 30 years ago

English comic Charles Spencer Chaplin, Jr. was born on April 16, 1889 in Walworth, London, England. He said, “Life could be wonderful if people would leave you alone." [Amen!]... Mr. Chaplin died in 1977 in Vevey, Switzerland.

W.C. Fields died today – 61 years ago

U.S. comic actor W.C. Fields was born as William Claude Dukenfield on January 29, 1880 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He said, “You can't trust water: Even a straight stick turns crooked in it." [Does a crooked stick look straight?]... Mr. Fields died in 1946 in Pasadena, California.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Norman Vincent Peale died today – 14 years ago

U.S. author Norman Vincent Peale was born on May 31, 1898 in Bowersville, Ohio. He said, “Resentment or grudges do no harm to the person against whom you hold these feelings but every day and every night of your life, they are eating at you.” [But... But...]... Mr. Peale died in 1993 in Pawling, New York.

Louis Aragon died today – 25 years ago

French poet and novelist Louis Aragon was born on October 3, 1897 in Paris, France. He said, “I demand that my books be judged with utmost severity, by knowledgeable people who know the rules of grammar and of logic, and who will seek beneath the footsteps of my commas the lice of my thought in the head of my style." [Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself.]... Mr. Aragon died in 1982 in Paris, France.

John Muir died today – 93 years ago

Scottish naturalist John Muir was born on April 21, 1838 in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland. He said, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." [Oh, please! In that case, wouldn't it fall apart every time I swatted a mosquito?]... Mr. Muir died in 1914 in Los Angeles, California.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Billy Barty died today – 7 years ago

U.S. actor Billy Barty was born as William John Bertanzetti on October 25, 1924 in Millsboro, Pennsylvania. Check him out here. He said, “The name of my condition is Cartilage Hair Hypoplasia, but you can just call me Billy." [Whew! Thanks.]... Mr. Barty died in 2000 in Glendale, California.

Victor Borge died today – 7 years ago

Danish pianist and entertainer Victor Borge was born as Børge Rosenbaum on January 3, 1909 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Watch him play Liszt´s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 here. He said, “Santa Claus has the right idea: visit people once a year.” [Leave ‘em wanting more.]... Mr. Borge died in 2000 in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I do very nearly everything - figuratively speaking.

I eat dinner with Mitt Romney... in the figurative sense.

I run and ski and horseback ride and waterski with Mitt Romney... in the figurative sense.

I personally consult with and advise Mitt Romney... in the figurative sense.

If Mitt Romney is the Republican Presidential nominee for the November 2008 election, I will be his Vice-Presidential running mate... in the figurative sense.

If Mitt Romney is elected President by the Electoral College, I will BE the Vice-President... in the figurative sense.

I... Well, if Mitt Romney can say his father "marched" with Dr. Martin Luther King, in a figurative sense (as the Boston Globe reported yesterday), then I can say I did (or will do) these things... in a figurative sense, can't I?

Texas TAKS Replaced?

It's all over the internet: like here and here and here. So here it is again:

Texas State Public Education Department cannot seem to
hang on to a statewide test for more than 5 years. School
districts state-wide have used the tests known as TABS,
TEAMS, TAAS, and now TAKS.

Therefore, San Antonio school districts have adopted a test that
better fits the public education in their city. The new instrument
will be the Texas Assessment of Cognitive Operations (TACO).
It will have a remedial version (Soft TACO), a regular version
(Hard TACO), and an advanced version with many more pages
(the Gordita). It will be graded on the standard bell curve (the
TACO Bell).

Districts receiving the lowest scores will be put on probation
with a Basic Educational Appraisal-Not Satisfactory (BEANS).
A second low rating earns the dreaded supplemental Remediation
Factor for Individualized Education Deficits (REFRIED BEANS).


Butterfly McQueen died today – 12 years ago

U.S. actress Butterfly McQueen was born as Thelma McQueen on January 7, 1911 in Tampa, Florida. She said, “As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion." [Oh, my!]... Ms. McQueen died in 1995 in Augusta, Georgia.

Samuel Beckett died today – 18 years ago

Irish writer Samuel Barclay Beckett was born on April 13, 1906 in Dublin, Ireland. He said, “All I know is what the words know, and dead things, and that makes a handsome little sum, with a beginning and a middle and an end, as in the well-built phrase and the long sonata of the dead." [What!?]... Mr. Beckett died in 1989 in Paris, France.

Beatrix Potter died today – 64 years ago

English writer Helen Beatrix Potter was born on July 28, 1866 in Kensington, London, England. She said, “All outward forms of religion are almost useless, and are the causes of endless strife. . . . Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest." [Hmmm.]... Ms. Potter died in 1943 in Near Sawrey, England.

Ma Rainey died today – 68 years ago

U.S. singer Ma Rainey was born as Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett on April 26, 1886 in Columbus, Georgia. She said, “They hear it [the blues] come out, but they don't know how it got there. They don't understand that's life's way of talking. You don't sing to feel better. You sing 'cause that's a way of understanding life.” [Yep!]... Ms. Rainey died in 1939 in Columbus, Georgia.

Dwight L. Moody died today – 108 years ago

U.S. evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody was born on February 5, 1837 in Northfield, Massachusetts. He said, “Character is what you are in the dark." [When nobody’s lookin’.]... Mr. Moody died in 1899 in Northfield, Massachusetts.

George Eliot died today – 127 years ago

English novelist George Eliot was born as Mary Ann (Marian) Evans on November 22, 1819 near Nuneaton, England. She said, “Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact." [Silence may not be golden, but many times it’s above silver.]... Ms. Eliot died in 1880 in Chelsea, London, England.

Friday, December 21, 2007

F. Scott Fitzgerald died today – 67 years ago

U.S. author Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He said, “Switzerland is a country where very few things begin, but many things end." [Poor Switzerland... Yeah, right.]... Mr. Fitzgerald died in 1940 in Hollywood, California.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Carl Sagan died today – 11 years ago

U.S. scientist and writer Carl Edward Sagan was born on November 9, 1934 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York. He said, “We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces." [Wow!]... Mr. Sagan died in 1996 in Seattle, Washington.

Artur Rubenstein died today – 25 years ago

Polish-Jewish-American pianist Artur Rubenstein was born on January 28, 1887 in Łódź, Congress Poland. He said, “Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can only be felt if you don't set any condition.” [Was he saying to just experience it?]... Mr. Rubenstein died in 1982 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Bobby Darin died today – 34 years ago

U.S. singer Bobby Darin was born as Walden Robert "Bobby" Cassotto on May 14, 1936 in the Bronx, New York City, New York. Check out Bobby singing “Beyond the Sea” here. He said, “It isn't true that you live only once. You only die once. You live lots of times, if you know how." [Good one.]... Mr. Darin died in 1973 in Los Angeles, California.

John Steinbeck died today – 39 years ago

U.S. writer John Ernst Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas Valley, California. He said, “Give a critic an inch, he'll write a play." [But he won’t like it.]... Mr. Steinbeck died in 1968 in New York City, New York.

Moss Hart died today – 46 years ago

U.S. writer Moss Hart was born on October 24, 1904 in the Bronx, New York City, New York. He said, “All the mistakes I ever made were when I wanted to say 'No' and said 'Yes'." [Have to think about that one.]... Mr. Hart died in 1961 in Palm Springs, California.

Elsa Einstein died today – 71 years ago

Elsa Einstein, wife of Albert Einstein, was born on January 18, 1876 in Hechingen, Germany. She said, “No, I don't understand my husband's theory of relativity, but I know my husband, and I know he can be trusted." [Well, that does it for me... not.]... Mrs. Einstein died in 1936 in Princeton, New Jersey.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Marcello Mastroianni died today – 11 years ago

Italian actor Marcello Vincenzo Domenico Mastroianni was born on September 26 (or 28), 1924 in Fontana Liri, Italy. He said, “Theater actors like to change character roles. They don't like to always do the same thing." [They’re only human!]... Mr. Mastroianni died in 1996 in Paris, France.

Emily Brontë died today – 159 years ago

English writer Emily Jane Brontë was born on July 13, 1818 in Thornton, Yorkshire, England. She said, “Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves." [That’s true of FALSE pride, otherwise known as hubris.]... Ms. Bronte died in 1848 in Haworth, Yorkshire, England.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chris Farley died today – 10 years ago

U.S. comic Christopher Crosby Farley was born on February 15, 1964 in Madison, Wisconsin. He said, “Basically, I only play one character; I just play him at different volumes." [Watch him and believe.]... Mr. Farley died in 1997 in Chicago, Illinois.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lord Kelvin died today – 100 years ago

Irish scientist William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin was born on June 26, 1824 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He said, “In science there is only physics; all the rest is stamp collecting." [So said the physicist.]... Mr. Kelvin died in 1907 in Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dan Fogelberg died today

U.S. singer and songwriter Dan Fogelberg was born on August 13, 1951 in Peoria, Illinois. He said, "I always try to give my songs as gifts." [Right on!]... Mr. Fogelberg died in 2007 in Maine.

Colonel Harlan Sanders died today – 27 years ago

U.S. restaurateur Colonel Harlan David Sanders was born on September 9, 1890 in Henryville, Indiana. He said, “Feed the poor and get rich or feed the rich and get poor.” [I get it.]... Mr. Sanders died in 1980 in Louisville, Kentucky.

W. Somerset Maugham died today – 42 years ago

Author William Somerset Maugham was born on January 25, 1874 in Paris, France. He said, “Considering how foolishly people act and how pleasantly they prattle, perhaps it would be better for the world if they talked more and did less." [Didn't he tell me to keep on blogging?]... Mr. Maugham died in 1965 in Nice, France.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

William Proxmire died today – 2 years ago

U.S. Senator (Wisconsin, 1957-1989) Edward William Proxmire was born on November 11, 1915 in Lake Forest, Illinois. He said, “Power always has to be kept in check; power exercised in secret, especially under the cloak of national security, is doubly dangerous." [Wow!]... Mr. Proxmire died in 2005 in Sykesville, Maryland.

Walt Disney died today – 41 years ago

U.S. filmmaker Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois. He said, “The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique." [Yep!]... Mr. Disney died in 1966 in Burbank, California.

Charles Laughton died today – 45 years ago

U.S. actor Charles Laughton was born on July 1, 1899 in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England. He said, “I have a face like the behind of an elephant." [Well, at least it looks like something.]... Mr. Laughton died in 1962 in Hollywood, California.

Fats Waller died today – 64 years ago

U.S. pianist and singer Fats Waller was born as Thomas Wright Waller on May 21, 1904 in Waverley, New York. He said, “If you don't know what it is, don't mess with it." [Sometimes, even if you do know.]... Mr. Waller died in 1943 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jeanne Crain died today – 4 years ago

U.S. actress Jeanne Crain was born on May 25, 1925 in Barstow, California. She said, “I grew up without knowing anything about prejudice; my mother saw to that. If parents would keep prejudice and intolerance to themselves for one generation, we would have a different world." [For a while, until new ones started.]... Ms. Crain died in 2003 in Santa Barbara, California.

Myrna Loy died today – 14 years ago

U.S. actress Myrna Loy was born as Myrna Adele Williams on August 2, 1905 in Radersburg, Montana. She said, “I think that carrying on a life that is meant to be private in public is a breach of taste, common sense, and mental hygiene." [But it sells so many magazines.]... Ms. Loy died in 1993 in New York City, New York.

Walter Lippman died today – 33 years ago

U.S. writer Walter Lippman was born on September 23, 1889 in New York City, New York. He said, “There is nothing so good for the human soul as the discovery that there are ancient and flourishing civilized societies which have somehow managed to exist for many centuries and are still in being though they have had no help from the traveler in solving their problems." [You mean we don’t need to interfere everywhere?]... Mr. Lippman died in 1974 in New York City, New York.

Louis Agassiz died today – 134 years ago

Swiss-U.S. naturalist Louis Agassiz was born on May 28, 1807 in Môtier (now part of Haut-Vully), Switzerland. He said, “Every scientific truth goes through three states: first, people say it conflicts with the Bible; next, they say it has been discovered before; lastly, they say they always believed it." [And next they forget it.]... Mr. Agassiz died in 1873 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

George Washington died today – 208 years ago

U.S. President (1st) George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Colony of Virginia, British America. He said, “My observation is that whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty . . . it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein." [Guess where that best applies!]... Mr. Washington died in 1799 in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wassily Kandinsky died today – 63 years ago

Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky was born on December 16, 1866 in Moscow. He said, “Everything starts from a dot." [And a thought preceded that dot.]... Mr. Kandinsky died in 1944 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

When was the last time you lost your temper?

Well, when was it? We absolutely need to know... At least Katie Couric thinks we do.

This will be another one of her moronic questions to the ten - no, there's only ten, because Katie says so - candidates for the Republican and Democratic primaries next year, some in January, after the hangovers wear off... and new ones begin.

Well, got news for ya', Katie: a lot of us people don't care what those ho-hums think. Their ideas are tired and broken... many times over. And if you want to remain the CBS evening news hostess, keep doing the fluff. But if you want to be a real newslady, break free from whoever is writing those scripted questions and ask some real ones... to ALL of the candidates.

P.S. I won't hold my breath until THAT one happens.

Vance Packard died today – 11 years ago

U.S. writer Vance Packard was born on May 22, 1914 in Granville Summit, Pennsylvania. He said, “Rock and roll might be summed up as monotony tinged with hysteria." [All music is somewhat repetitious.]... Mr. Packard died in 1996 in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Tallulah Bankhead died today – 39 years ago

U.S. actress Tallulah Brockman Bankhead was born on January 31, 1902 in Huntsville, Alabama. She said, “They used to photograph Shirley Temple through gauze. They should photograph me through linoleum." [High gloss or low gloss?]... Ms. Bankhead died in 1968 in New York City, New York.

Robert Browning died today – 118 years ago

English writer Robert Browning was born on May 7, 1812 in Camberwell, England. He said, “Ambition is not what man does... but what man would do." [”Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda.”]... Mr. Browning died in 1889 in Venice, Italy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Willie Rushton died today – 11 years ago

English comedian William George Rushton was born on August 18, 1937 in Chelsea, London, England. He said, “German is the most extravagantly ugly language—it sounds like someone using a sick bag on a 747." [Have you heard it lately?]... Mr. Rushton died in 1996 in Kensington, London, England.

Alma Schindler Mahler Kokoschka Gropius Werfel died today – 43 years ago

Austrian writer Alma Schindler Mahler Kokoschka Gropius Werfel was born on August 31, 1879 in Vienna, Austria. She had been married to Gustav Mahler, Walter Gropius, and Franz Werfel. Ms. Werfel died in 1964 in New York City, New York.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Richard Pryor died today – 2 years ago

U.S. comedian and actor Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III was born on December 1, 1940 in Peoria, Illinois. He said, “Everyone carries around his own monsters." [Yup.]... Mr. Pryor died in 2005 in Encino, Los Angeles, California.

Eugene McCarthy died today – 2 years ago

U.S. senator (Minnesota, 1959-1971) Eugene Joseph McCarthy was born on March 29, 1916 in Watkins, Minnesota. He said, “The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty." [Think about it.]... Mr. McCarthy died in 2005 in Washington, DC.

Ed Wood died today – 29 years ago

U.S. director and writer Edward Davis Wood, Jr. was born on October 10, 1924 in Poughkeepsie, New York. He said, “My girlfriend still doesn't know why her sweaters are always stretched out." [Perhaps it’s from the wear-er.]... Mr. Wood died in 1978 in North Hollywood, California.

Alfred Nobel died today – 111 years ago

Swedish chemist Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born on October 21, 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden. He said, “Second to agriculture, humbug is the biggest industry of our age." [Hmmmm.]... Mr. Nobel died in 1896 in San Remo, Italy.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Louella Parsons died today – 35 years ago

U.S. gossipist Louella Parsons was born on August 6, 1881 in Freeport, Illinois. She said, “@$#*%! @$#*%! @$#*%! @$#*%! @$#*%!" [She said a lot of things but that wasn’t one of them.]... Ms. Parsons died in 1972 in Santa Monica, California.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Slim Pickens died today – 24 years ago

U.S. actor Slim Pickens was born as Louis Burton Lindley Jr. on June 29, 1919 in Kingsburg, California. He said, “After 'Dr. Strangelove,' the roles, the dressing rooms, and the checks all started gettin' bigger." [You gotta start somewhere.]... Mr. Pickens died in 1983 in Modesto, California.

Marty Robbins died today – 25 years ago

U.S. singer and songwriter Marty Robbins was born as Martin David Robinson on September 26, 1925 in Glendale, Arizona. He said, “I have so much fun on stage that I should have to pay to get in." [Well, go ahead and do it.]... Mr. Robbins died in 1982 in Nashville, Tennessee.

John Lennon died today – 27 years ago

English singer and songwriter John Winston Lennon was born on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England. He said, “Life is what happens when you are making other plans." [Ain’t that the truth.]... Mr. Lennon was murdered in 1980 in New York City, New York.

Golda Meir died today – 29 years ago

Russian Israeli leader Golda Meir was born as Golda Mabovitz on May 3, 1898 in Kiev, Russia. She said, “Moses dragged us for 40 years through the desert to bring us to the one place in the Middle East where there was no oil." [You gotta live somewhere.]... Ms. Meir died in 1978 in Jerusalem, Israel.

Herbert Spencer died today – 104 years ago

English philosopher Herbert Spencer was born on April 27, 1820 in Derby, England. He said, “A jury is a group of twelve people of average ignorance." [At least at the beginning.]... Mr. Spencer died in 1903 in Brighton, England.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Mormonist Mitt and Bits

According to The Boston Globe link that I received this morning, Mitt “Romney vows a balance on religion.” Well, how does one do this balance... exactly? Does one pick one’s own religious precept (commandment) this time, and then pick someone else’s precept – from whatever source - the next? What if they are contradictory? Which one trumps the other? ... It’s all very puzzling.

If you haven’t already researched what Mormonism entails, try “The Ten Commandments, Mormon-Style”. Or try “The Ten Commandments in Mormonism”. (Check out “6 Thou shalt not kill” with the author’s “few exceptions: capital punishment, warfare against an enemy which threatens our liberty or families, and the like.” ... What does “threaten” mean? What exactly is “the like”?)

You might also want to read “Distinctive Beliefs of the Mormon Church” or “All About Mormons”. If you’re a TV-person, check out “All About Mormons: Part 8: Mormon Familes and Temples”.

Joan Bennett died today – 17 years ago

U.S. actress Joan Bennett was born on February 27, 1910 in Palisades, New Jersey. She said, “I feel positively like a Beatle." [Well, some days I feel like an ant: busy, busy, busy.]... Ms. Bennett died in 1990 in Scarsdale, New York.

Robert Graves died today – 22 years ago

English writer Robert von Ranke Graves was born on July 24, 1895 in Wimbledon, England. He said, “If there's no money in poetry, neither is there poetry in money." [But it can buy so much of it.]... Mr. Graves died in 1985 in Majorca.

Thornton Wilder died today – 32 years ago

U.S. playwright and novelist Thornton Niven Wilder was born on April 17, 1897 in Madison, Wisconsin. He said, “My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy the ice cream while it's on your plate." [May I have many flavors.]... Mr. Wilder died in 1975 in Hamden, Connecticut.

Cicero died today – 2,050 years ago

Roman writer Marcus Tullius Cicero was born on January 3, 106 BC in Arpinum, Italy. He said, “Advice in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road the nearer we approach to our journey's end." [I’ll take it nonetheless.]... Mr. Cicero died in 43 BC in Formia, Italy.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Roy Orbison died today – 19 years ago

U.S. singer Roy Orbison was born on April 23, 1936 in Vernon, Texas. He said, “I may be a living legend, but that sure don't help when I've got to change a flat tire." [I guess he could have waited until a fan showed up.]... Mr. Orbison died in 1988 in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Jefferson Davis died today – 118 years ago

U.S. Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis was born on June 3, 1808 in Fairview, Kentucky. He said, “Neither current events nor history show that the majority rule, or ever did rule." [Well, of course. They just pick the rulers,... I mean representatives.]... Mr. Davis died in 1889 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fond Memories of First Personal Computers

In 1981 the Commodore VIC-20 was sold for $299. It had 5KB of RAM. It used a cassette tape drive to store/load programs. It was discontinued in 1985. If you want to watch a commercial for it by Captain Kirk - I mean, William Shatner - then click here.

In 1982 the Commodore 64 was sold for $595. It had 64KB of RAM (hence the name). Wow! 64K... Well, it was a big deal, in its day... It was sadly discontinued in 1993.

Hans Richter died today – 91 years ago

Austrian-Hungarian conductor Hans Richter was born as János Richter on April 4, 1843 in Raab (today Győr) Hungary. He said, “The hardest thing in the world is to start an orchestra, and the next hardest, to stop it." [Ha! Ha! Ha!... Oh! He was serious.]... Mr. Richter died in 1916 in Bayreuth, Germany.

Claude Monet died today – 81 years ago

French painter Claude Oscar Monet was born on November 14, 1840 in Paris, France. He said, “For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value." [It works for some people, too.]... Mr. Monet died in 1926 in Giverny, France.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died today – 216 years ago

Austrian composer Wolf gang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg, Austria. He said, “Nevertheless the passions, whether violent or not, should never be so expressed as to reach the point of causing disgust; and music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it, and thereby always remain music." [OK.]... Mr. Mozart died in 1791 in Vienna, Austria.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Frank Zappa died today – 14 years ago

U.S. musician and composer Frank Vincent Zappa was born on December 21, 1940 in Baltimore, Maryland. He said, “You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." [I couldn't have said it better... Oh, wait! An elephant with indigestion comes to mind.]... Mr. Zappa died in 1993 in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California.

Hannah Arendt died today – 32 years ago

German political scientist Hannah Arendt was born on October 14, 1906 in Hanover (Linden), Germany. She said, “There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous." [But we need to keep doing it. In fact, we need much more of it.]... Ms. Arendt died in 1975 in New York.

Maurice Barrès died today – 84 years ago

French writer Maurice Barrès was born on September 22, 1862 in Charmes-sur-Moselle, Vosges, France. He said, “The politician is an acrobat; he keeps his balance by doing the opposite of what he says." [The word “lie” is such an ugly word, isn’t it?]... Mr. Barres died in 1923 in Paris, France.

Thomas Hobbes died today – 328 years ago

English philosopher Thomas Hobbes was born on April 5, 1588 in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England. He said, “Leisure is the mother of Philosophy." [It takes time to think up some nonsense.]... Mr. Hobbes died in 1679 in Derbyshire, England.

Omar Khayyam died today – 876 years ago

Persian writer and mathematician Omar Khayyam was born as Ghiyath al-Din Abu al-Fath 'Umar ibn Ibrahim al-Nisaburi al-Khayyami on May 18, 1048 in Nishapur, Iran. He said, “A hair divides what is false and true." [That much, huh?]... Mr. Khayyam died in 1131 in Nishapur, Iran.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Madeline Kahn died today – 8 years ago

U.S. actress Madeline Kahn was born as Madeline Gail Wolfson on September 29, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts. She said, “Laughter is a strange response. I mean, what is it? It's a spasm of some kind! Is that always joy? It's very often discomfort. It's some sore of explosive reaction." [But it feels so gooood.]... Ms. Kahn died in 1999 in New York City, New York.

Mary Baker Eddy died today – 97 years ago

Founder of “Christian Science” Mary Baker Eddy was born as Mary Morse Baker on July 16, 1821 in Bow, New Hampshire. She said, “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind." [Wish it was that easy, ... but then, on the other hand, it’s not always that easy to have “positive” beliefs.]... Ms. Eddy died in 1910 in Newton, Massachusetts.

Robert Louis Stevenson died today – 113 years ago

Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He said, “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign." [So keep traveling.]... Mr. Stevenson died in 1894 in Vailima, Samoa.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Joey Adams died today – 8 years ago

U.S. comedian Joey Adams was born as Joseph Abramowitz on January 6, 1911 in Brooklyn, New York. He said, “The difference between playing the stock market and the horses is that one of the horses must win." [I’ll stick to playing the keyboard.]... Mr. Adams died in 1999 in New York City, New York.

Aaron Copland died today – 17 years ago

U.S. composer Aaron Copland was born on November 14, 1900 in Brooklyn, New York. He said, “A melody is not merely something you can hum." [But it helps.]... Mr. Copland died in 1990 in North Tarrytown (now Sleepy Hollow), New York.

Marquis de Sade died today – 193 years ago

French writer Marquis de Sade was born as Donatien Alphonse-François de Sade on June 2, 1740 in Paris, France. He said, “All universal moral principles are idle fancies." [No, they’re not!]... Mr. de Sade died in 1814 in Charenton, France.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

John B. S. Haldane died today – 43 years ago

Scottish scientist John Burdon Sanderson Haldane was born on November 5, 1892 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He said, “The wise man regulates his conduct by the theories both of religion and science. But he regards these theories not as statements of ultimate fact but as art-forms." [Interesting.]... Mr. Haldane died in 1964 in Bhubaneswar, India.