Friday, February 29, 2008

E.F. Benson died today – 68 years ago

Writer (think: “Miss Mapp”) Edward Frederic Benson was born on July 24, 1867 in Crowthorne, Berkshire, England. He said, “When one is happy there is no time to be fatigued; being happy engrosses the whole attention.” [So be happy, happy, happy.]... Mr. Benson died on February 29, 1940 in London, England.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Maxwell Anderson died today – 49 years ago

Playwright and lyricist (think: “September Song”) James Maxwell Anderson was born on December 15, 1888 in Atlantic, Pennsylvania. He said, “There are some men who lift the age they inhabit, till all men walk on higher ground in that lifetime." [I doubt that ALL men do so.]... Mr. Anderson died on February 28, 1959 in Stamford, Connecticut.

Henry James died today – 92 years ago

Writer (think: “The Bostonians” and “The Wings of the Dove”) Henry James was born on April 15, 1843 in New York City, New York. He said, “The only success worth one's powder was success in the line of one's idiosyncrasy... what was talent but the art of being completely whatever one happened to be?" [Therefore, make the most of what you’re good at doing, even though others make the most of what they’re bad at doing.]... Mr. James died on February 28, 1916 in London, England.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lillian Gish died today – 15 years ago

Actress Lillian Diana Gish was born on October 14, 1893 in Springfield, Ohio. She said, “You can get through life with bad manners, but it's easier with good manners." [I try.]... Ms. Gish died on February 27, 1993 in New York City, New York.

Konrad Lorenz died today – 19 years ago

Zoologist Konrad Zacharias Lorenz was born on November 7, 1903 in Vienna, Austria. He said, “Barking dogs occasionally bite, but laughing men hardly ever shoot." [So keep ‘em laughing.]... Mr. Lorenz died on February 27, 1989 in Vienna, Austria.

Ivan Pavlov died today – 72 years ago

Physiologist and psychologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was born on September 14, 1849 in Ryazan, Russia. He said, “It is clear to all that the animal organism is a highly complex system consisting of an almost infinite series of parts connected both with one another and, as a total complex, with the surrounding world, with which it is in a state of equilibrium." [I doubt that “equilibrium” thing.]... Mr. Pavlov died on February 27, 1936 in Leningrad, Soviet Union.

John Arbuthnot died today – 273 years ago

Physician, satirist, and mathematician John Arbuthnot was born on April 29, 1667 in Kincardineshire, Scotland. He said, “All political parties die at last swallowing their own lies." [They gotta eat something.]... Mr. Arbuthnot died on February 27, 1735 in London, England.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

William Ralph Inge died today – 54 years ago

Writer William Ralph Inge was born on June 6, 1860 in Crayke, Yorkshire, England. He said, “We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form." [Is that Sasquatch I see?]... Mr. Inge died on February 26, 1954 in Wallingford, England.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tennessee Williams died today – 25 years ago

Writer (think: “The Glass Menagerie”, “A Streetcar Named Desire”, “The Rose Tattoo”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “Suddenly, Last Summer”, “The Night of the Iguana”) Tennessee Williams was born as Thomas Lanier Williams III on March 26, 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi. He said, “All your Western theologies, the whole mythology of them, are based on the concept of God as a senile delinquent." [As in “I-want-my-way-or-else”?]... Mr. Williams died on February 25, 1983 in New York City, New York.

Mark Rothko died today – 38 years ago

Artist Mark Rothko was born as Marcus Rothkowitz on September 25, 1903 in Daugavpils, Latvia. He said, “There is no such thing as good painting about nothing." [And there’s plenty of nothing out there.]... Mr. Rothko died on February 25, 1970 in New York City, New York.

Grace Metalious died today – 44 years ago

Writer (think: “Peyton Place” (1956)) Grace Metalious was born as Marie Grace de Repentigny on September 8, 1924 in Manchester, New Hampshire. She said, “If I'm a lousy writer, then an awful lot of people have lousy taste.” [Well, they probably do.]... Ms. Metalious died on February 25, 1964 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Johnny Burke died today – 44 years ago

Lyricist (think “Pennies From Heaven” (1936)) Johnny Burke was born on October 3, 1908 in Antioch, California. He said, “Don't you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven." [I’d like some of those silver dollar clouds.]... Mr. Burke died on February 25, 1964.

Thomas Moore died today – 156 years ago

Poet (think: “The Last Rose of Summer”), singer, and songwriter (think: “The Minstrel Boy”) Thomas Moore was born on May 28, 1779 in Dublin, Ireland. He said, “Those who plot the destruction of others often perish in the attempt." [One way or another.]... Mr. Moore died on February 25, 1852 in Wiltshire, England.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Henny Youngman died today – 10 years ago

Comedian and violinist Henry “Henny” Youngman was born on March 16, 1906 in London, England. He said, “A Jewish woman had two chickens. One got sick, so the woman made chicken soup out of the other one to help the sick one get well." [Glad I wasn’t that chicken.]... Mr. Youngman died on February 24, 1998 in New York City, New York.

Dinah Shore died today – 14 years ago

Singer and actress Dinah Shore was born as Frances Rose Shore on February 29, 1916 in Winchester, Tennessee. She said, “I never wanted to set the world on fire. So I never had to burn any bridges behind me." [Clever, huh?]... Ms. Shore died on February 24, 1994 in Beverly Hills, California.

Got enough of Dinah? Nope? OK.

George Gobel died today – 17 years ago

Comedian (think: “The George Gobel Show” (1954-1960)) George Leslie Gobel was born on May 20, 1919 in Chicago, Illinois. He said, “Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?" [Then find a brown tuxedo.]... Mr. Gobel died on February 24, 1991 in Encino, California.

Johnnie Ray died today – 18 years ago

Singer (think: “Cry”) John “Johnnie” Alvin Ray was born on January 10, 1927 in Hopewell, Oregon. He said, “I am constantly asked why I never made other films after 'There's No Business Like Show Business,' the answer is I was never asked.” [That can do it.]... Mr. Ray died on February 24, 1990 in Los Angeles, California.

Malcolm Forbes died today – 18 years ago

Malcolm Stevenson Forbes was born on August 19, 1919 in Englewood, New Jersey. He said, “Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs." [And it also takes just the right arrangement.]... Mr. Forbes died on February 24, 1990 in Far Hills, New Jersey.

Need more of it? OK.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stan Laurel died today – 43 years ago

Comic actor Stan Laurel was born as Arthur Stanley Jefferson on June 16, 1890 in Ulverston, Lancashire, England. He said, “Another fine mess you're gotten me into." [Were you unconscious at the time?]... Mr. Laurel died on February 23, 1965 in Santa Monica, California.

John Quincy Adams died today – 160 years ago

U.S. President (6th, 1825-1829) John Quincy Adams was born on July 11, 1767 in Braintree, Massachusetts. He said, “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy." [Or at least shouldn’t, since there are so many of them here.]... Mr. Adams died on February 23, 1848 in Washington, D.C.

John Keats died today – 187 years ago

Poet (think: “Ode to Psyche”, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, “Ode to a Nightingale”, “Ode on Melancholy”) John Keats was born on October 31, 1795 in London, England. He said, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness." [Someone could have said that about the dinosaurs. But where are they now?]... Mr. Keats died on February 23, 1821 in Rome, Italy.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Andy Warhol died today – 21 years ago

Artist Andy Warhol was born as Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He said, “Since people are going to be living longer and getting older, they'll just have to learn how to be babies longer." [Intellectually, some already do.]... Mr. Warhol died on February 22, 1987 in New York City, New York.

Felix Frankfurter died today – 43 years ago

U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1939-1962) Felix Frankfurter was born on November 15, 1882 in Vienna, Austria. He said, “Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of achieving a free society." [Actually, it’s part of having a free society.]... Mr. Frankfurter died on February 22, 1965 in Washington, D.C.

That piano playing was probably much more interesting, wasn’t it?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Malcolm X died today – 43 years ago

Malcolm X was born as Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in North Omaha, Nebraska. He said, “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything." [Yes, he will.]... Mr. X died on February 21, 1965 in New York City, New York.

Baruch Spinoza died today – 331 years ago

Philosopher and writer (think: “Ethics”) Baruch de Spinoza was born on November 24, 1632 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He said, “Freedom is absolutely necessary for the progress in science and the liberal arts." [And in everything else.]... Mr. Spinoza died on February 21, 1677 in The Hague, Netherlands.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gene Siskel died today – 9 years ago

Movie critic Eugene “Gene” Kal Siskel was born on January 26, 1946 in Chicago, Illinois. He said, “That's probably when I get the most angry at American movies, when they just so cynically manipulate the audience without even trying to give a good story." [And what was the name of that movie again?]... Mr. Siskel died on February 20, 1999 in Evanston, Illinois.

Walter Winchell died today – 36 years ago

Journalist (think: “New York Evening Graphic”) and gossip reporter Walter Winchell was born on April 7, 1897 in New York City, New York. He said, “Gossip is the art of saying nothing in a way that leaves practically nothing unsaid." [That’s language for ya’.]... Mr. Winchell died on February 20, 1972 in Los Angeles, California.

Frederick Douglass died today – 113 years ago

Abolitionist and writer (e.g. “My Bondage and My Freedom”) Frederick Douglass was born on February 7, 1817 in Talbot County, Maryland. He said, “America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future." [Oh, my!]... Mr. Douglass died on February 20, 1895 in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Huck-a-bee Chuck-a-Byte

OK. By now it’s probably old news. But bad news often bears repeating: we can learn from it.

According to
here, as Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee ordered the destruction of “hard drives in 83 computers and four servers” at a cost of $13,000, allegedly “to protect the privacy of data on the drives.”

Well, were the contents archived before the disks were destroyed? Why weren’t they just reformatted? What kind of oversight was there in this? How could there have been “sensitive information” on the drives that wasn’t appropriate for the next governor’s staff to see? What exactly were they storing?

I can't help but believe that there must have been some thing, some secret – probably many some-things and many secrets – to hide. There also must have been information that might have been embarrassing to someone – probably many someones - on those drives. Otherwise, why wouldn’t that "sensitive" information be useful to the next staff?

Would Mr. Huckabee himself have anything to hide? Well, according to
here, there was “a 1998 story in the Arkansas Times detailing how Huckabee and his family were using the $60,000-a-year Governor's Mansion fund as their personal piggy bank.” If this story is true, I’ll bet that he didn’t want it too widely known that he was misusing “public funds”. (Yes, using-funds-for-purposes-not-directly-specified is misuse. I know: I took a course.)

So what’s the deal? Was anything illegal there? Don’t hold your breath to find out. We’ll probably never know. And besides, if Mick Huckabee becomes U.S. President, he can always pardon himself... Yes!
He can pardon himself... But probably not in this case.

Knut Hamsun died today – 56 years ago

Writer (think: “The Growth of the Soil”) Knut Hamsun was born as Knud Pedersen on August 4, 1859 in Vågå, Gudbrandsdal, Norway. He said, “Language must resound with all the harmonies of music. The writer must always, at all times, find the tremulous word which captures the thing and is able to draw a sob from my soul by its very rightness. A word can be transformed into a colour, light, a smell. It is the writer's task to use it in such a way that it serves, never fails, can never be ignored. The writer must be able to revel and roll in the abundance of words. He must know not only the direct but also the secret power of a word. There are overtones and undertones to a word, and lateral echoes, too." [Did you get all of that?]... Mr. Hamsun died on February 19, 1952 in Grimstad, Nørholm, Norway.

Well, that was probably more interesting than this:

Ernst Mach died today – 92 years ago

Physicist (think: Mach number) Ernst Mach was born on February 18, 1838 in Brno, Czech Republic. He said, “Similarly, many a young man, hearing for the first time of the refraction of stellar light, has thought that doubt was cast on the whole of astronomy, whereas nothing is required but an easily effected and unimportant correction to put everything right again." [And don’t forget it... period.]... Mr. Mach died on February 19, 1916 in Munich, Germany.

Not Mr. Mach, but interesting nonetheless, right?

Monday, February 18, 2008

J. Robert Oppenheimer died today – 41 years ago

Physicist (think: nuclear bombs) Julius Robert Oppenheimer was born on April 22, 1904 in New York City, New York. He said, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds." [So why’d you do it? For the money? Didn’t you think it out first? Did you think they were just going to let those bombs sit around, rusting on some shelf?]... Mr. Oppenheimer died on February 18, 1967 in Princeton, New Jersey.

Michelangelo died today – 444 years ago

Painter and sculptor Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born on March 6, 1475 near Arezzo, in Caprese, Tuscany, Italy. He said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark." [But how does one know where that point is?]... Michelangelo died on February 18, 1564 in Rome, Italy.

Martin Luther died today – 462 years ago

Religious reformer (think: “Ninety-Five Theses on the Power of Indulgences”) Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483 in Eisleben, Holy Roman Empire. He said, “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say." [So don’t be afraid to speak out.]... Mr. Luther died on February 18, 1546 in Eisleben, Holy Roman Empire.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Geronimo died today – 99 years ago

Native North American leader Geronimo was born on June 16, 1829 in Gila River, Mexico. He said, “I was no chief and never had been, but because I had been more deeply wronged than others, this honor was conferred upon me, and I resolved to prove worthy of the trust." [Thanks for setting the record straight.]... Geronimo died on February 17, 1909 in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Molière died today – 335 years ago

Writer (think: “L'école des femmes (The School for Wives)”) Molière was born as Jean-Baptiste Poquelin on January 15, 1622 in Paris, France. He said, “All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing." [Oh, I think they dance enough around the issues.]... Molière died on February 17, 1673 in Paris, France.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

James Harvey Robinson died today – 72 years ago

Historian James Harvey Robinson was born on June 29, 1863 in Bloomington,Illinois. He said, “Most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do." [Well, of course. What better motivation?]... Mr. Robinson died on February 16, 1936 in New York City, New York.

Mr. Robinson was a historian and that was history... And here’s some more:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Richard P. Feynman died today – 20 years ago

Physicist (think: “the theory of quantum electrodynamics”) Richard Phillips Feynman was born on May 11, 1918 in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York City, New York. He said, “There is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is that you 'play' with them!" [Speak for yourself.]... Mr. Feynman died on February 15, 1988 in Los Angeles, California.

Ethel Merman died today – 24 years ago

Singer (think: “leather lungs”) Ethel Merman was born as Ethel Agnes Zimmermann on January 16, 1908 in Astoria, Queens, New York City, New York. She said, “I can never remember being afraid of an audience. If the audience could do better, they'd be up here on stage and I'd be out there watching them." [That’s confidence for ya’.]... Ms. Merman died on February 15, 1984 in New York City, New York.

Nat King Cole died today – 43 years ago

Singer (think: “Mona Lisa”) and songwriter (think: “Straighten Up and Fly Right”) Nat King Cole was born as Nathaniel Adams Coles on March 17, 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama. He said, “Critics don't buy records. They get 'em free." [Sometimes something is worth no more than what you pay for it.]... Mr. Cole died on February 15, 1965 in Santa Monica, California.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy, Happy, Happy Valentine's Day

It's the day for love, cards, flowers, chocolates, dinners, candles, and anything else that money can buy. You can just enjoy it - moment by moment - or, if you just must know more about it, check out this site or this site or this site or this site (if you can see it)... Cheers!

Frederick Loewe died today – 20 years ago

Composer (think: “Brigadoon” and “My Fair Lady” and “Gigi” and “Camelot”) Frederick Loewe was born on June 10, 1904 (or 1901) in Vienna, Austria or Berlin, Germany. He said, (about his songwriting partner Alan Jay Lerner), “It won't be long before we'll be writing together again. I just hope they have a decent piano up there." [And it wasn’t ... long, that is ... because Mr. Lerner died on June 14, 1986.]... Mr. Loewe died on February 14, 1988 in Palm Springs, Germany.

P.G. Wodehouse died today – 33 years ago

Writer (think: “Jeeves” and “Blandings Castle”) Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was born on October 15, 1881 in Guildford, Surrey, UK. He used the pseudonyms of Henry William-Jones, P Brooke-Haven, Pelham Grenville, Melrose Grainger, J Walker Williams, and C P West. [Busy man.]... He said, “She looked as if she had been poured into her clothes and had forgotten to say 'when.'" [Maybe she said it in a foreign tongue.]... Mr. Wodehouse died on February 14, 1975 in Southampton, New York.

OK. It wasn’t about P.G. Wodehouse, but P.G. and P.J. are very close indeed: in fact, just a “HI” away.

Julian Huxley died today – 33 years ago

Writer Julian Sorell Huxley was born on June 22, 1887 in London, England. He was the brother of Aldous Huxley. He said, “Operationally, God is beginning to resemble not a ruler but the last fading smile of a cosmic Cheshire cat.” [I like cats. They're aloft, too.]... Mr. Huxley died on February 14, 1975 in London, England.

William Blackstone died today – 228 years ago

Jurist and professor (think: “Commentaries on the Laws of England”) William Blackstone was born on July 10, 1723 in Cheapside, London, England. He said, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." [Amen! But why can't we do better than that? Hint: when a monopoly controls something, there's no incentive to do any better.]... Mr. Blackstone died on February 14, 1780 in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England.

OK. It’s not about Mr. Blackstone, but wasn’t it nice anyway?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Waylon Jennings died today – 6 years ago

Musician and singer (think: “Theme from the Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)”) Waylon Arnold Jennings was born on June 15, 1937 in Littlefield, Texas. He said, “Honesty is something you can't wear out." [In fact, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.]... Mr. Jennings died on February 13, 2002 in Chandler, Arizona.

Richard Wagner died today – 125 years ago

Composer (e.g. “Der Ring des Nibelungen”) Wilhelm Richard Wagner was born on May 22, 1813 in Leipzig, Germany. He said, “I wish I could score everything for horns." [But we don’t want just horn-y music, do we?]... Mr. Wagner died on February 13, 1883 in Venice, Italy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Charles M. Schulz died today – 8 years ago

Comic artist (think: “Peanuts”) Charles Monroe Schulz was born on November 26, 1922 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He said, “That's the secret to life... replace one worry with another." [Right now I'm worried about... No, it'll be... No, it'll be... Now I'm getting dizzy... so I'll worry about that... for a while... until the next worry comes... But, hey, now I know the "secret to life".]... Mr. Schulz died on February 12, 2000 in Santa Rose, California.

Eubie Blake died today – 25 years ago

Songwriter (e.g. “I'm Just Wild About Harry”) and pianist James Hubert “Eubie” Blake was born on February 7, 1883 in Baltimore, Maryland. He said, “I don't have any bad habits. They might be bad habits for other people, but they're all right for me." [And don’t forget it.]... Mr. Blake died on February 12, 1983 in Brooklyn, New York.

Sal Mineo died today – 32 years ago

Actor (think: “Rebel Without a Cause”) Salvatore "Sal" Mineo, Jr. was born on January 10, 1939 in the Bronx, New York City, New York. He said, “I'll never be mistaken for Pat Boone.” [Is it because Sal was 5’4” and Pat was 5’9”?]... Mr. Mineo was murdered on February 12, 1976 in West Hollywood, California.

Immanuel Kant died today – 204 years ago

Philosopher (e.g. “Critique of Pure Reason”) Immanuel Kant was born on April 22, 1724 in Königsberg, Kingdom of Prussia. He said, “He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." [Watch how someone treats the defenseless.]... Mr. Kant died on February 12, 1804 in Königsberg, Kingdom of Prussia.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Frank Herbert died today – 22 years ago

Writer (think: “Dune”) Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr. was born on October 8, 1920 in Tacoma, Washington. He said, “Truth suffers from too much analysis." [Truth is simple; cover-up is complex.]... Mr. Herbert died on February 11, 1986 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Sylvia Plath died today – 45 years ago

Writer (e.g. “The Bell Jar”) and poet (e.g. “Ariel”) Sylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts. She said, “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." [And to so many other things.]... Ms. Plath died on February 11, 1963 in London, England.

Rene Descartes died today – 358 years ago

Philosopher (think: “Discourse on the Method”) René Descartes was born on March 31, 1596 in La Haye en Touraine (now Descartes), Indre-et-Loire, France. He said, “I think; therefore I am." [Perhaps it should be changed to “I stink; therefore I am.”]... Mr. Descartes died on February 11, 1650 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Arthur Miller died today – 3 years ago

Playwright (think: "The Crucible") Arthur Asher Miller was born on October 17, 1915 in New York City, New York. He had been married to Marilyn Monroe... He said, “I have made more friends for American culture than the State Department. Certainly I have made fewer enemies, but that isn't very difficult." [Don't meddle. Peddle.]... Mr. Miller died on February 10, 2005 in Roxbury, Connecticut.

Jim Varney died today – 8 years ago

Actor and comedian (think: "Ernest Goes to Camp") James Albert Varney, Jr. was born on June 15, 1949 in Lexington, Kentucky. He said, “I like to sing. I write music. Country songs. You have to if you're in Nashville. It's part of the lease. You sign a lease that says, I will write country songs and pay my rent on time." [I’ve got a few country songs for Nashville.]... Mr. Varney died on February 10, 2000 in White House, Tennessee.

Alex Haley died today – 16 years ago

Writer (think: “Roots”) Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was born on August 11, 1921 in Ithaca, New York. He said, “Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children." [Because they're usually so far away.]... Mr. Haley died on February 10, 1992 in Seattle, Washington.

Billy Rose died today – 42 years ago

Composer (think: "Me and My Shadow") Billy Rose was born as William Samuel Rosenberg on September 6, 1899 in New York City, New York. He said, “It's hard for a fellow to keep a chip on his shoulder if you allow him to take a bow." [Spread the praise around... if it’s deserved.]... Mr. Rose died on February 10, 1966 in New York City, New York.

Laura Ingalls Wilder died today – 51 years ago

Writer (think: “Little House on the Prairie”) Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder was born on February 7, 1867 near Pepin, Wisconsin. She said, “The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they're organized for." [Why bother with details?]... Ms. Wilder died on February 10, 1957 in Mansfield, Missouri.

Baron de Montesquieu died today – 253 years ago

Writer (think: "The Spirit of the Laws") Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu was born on January 18, 1689 in Bordeaux, France. He said, “There is a very good saying that if triangles invented a god, they would make him three-sided." [That’s tri-morphic.]... Mr. Montesquieu died on February 10, 1755 in Paris, France.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sophie Tucker died today – 42 years ago

Singer and comedian Sophie Tucker was born as Sonia Kalish on January 13, 1884 in the Tsardom of Rus'. She said, “From birth to 18 a girl needs good parents. From 18 to 35, she needs good looks. From 35 to 55, good personality. From 55 on, she needs good cash. I'm saving my money." [It helps.]... Ms. Tucker died on February 9, 1966 in New York City, New York.

Fyodor Dostoevsky died today – 127 years ago

Writer Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was born on November 11, 1821 in Moscow, Russian Empire. He said, “If you were to destroy the belief in immortality in mankind, not only love but every living force on which the continuation of all life in the world depended, would dry up at once." [He wasn't very optimistic, was he?]... Mr. Dostoevsky died on February 9, 1881 in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Anna Nicole Smith died today – 1 year ago

Anna Nicole Smith was born as Vickie Lynn Hogan on November 28, 1967 in Houston Texas. She said, “I have been alone since my husband died. I stay in my home. I don't date. It's hard to date when you're at home. Nobody knows you." [Oh, I think that they knew you.]... Ms. Smith died on February 8, 2007 in Hollywood, Florida.

Iris Murdoch died today – 9 years ago

Writer Jean Iris Murdoch was born on July 15, 1919 in Dublin, Ireland. She said, “I think being a woman is like being Irish. Everyone says you're important and nice, but you take second place all the same." [Perhaps it’s changed a little?]... Ms. Murdoch died on February 8, 1999 in Oxfordshire, England.

P.S. Flowers are beautiful, too.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Anne Morrow Lindbergh died today – 7 years ago

Writer and aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh was born on June 22, 1906 in Englewood, New Jersey. She had been married to Charles Lindbergh. She said, “I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable." [You were -and still are - so correct.]... Ms. Lindbergh died on February 7, 2001 in Passumpsic, Vermont.

Doug Henning died today – 8 years ago

Illusionist Douglas James Henning was born on May 3, 1947 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He said, “The only thing a magician ever really does is to ask one question: 'What's real and what's illusion?'" [And I’d ask you, “How’d you do that?”]... Mr. Henning died on February 7, 2000 in Los Angeles, California.

Elihu Root died today – 71 years ago

Lawyer Elihu Root was born on February 15, 1845 in Clinton, New York. He said, “I observe that there are two entirely different theories according to which individual men seek to get on in the world. One theory leads a man to pull down everybody around him in order to climb up on them to a higher place. The other leads a man to help everybody around him in order that he may go up with them." [Which one do you use?]... Mr. Root died on February 7, 1937 in Clinton, New York.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mercury’s not just a distant planet.

Jenny Thompson, from HSI e-Alert, asks, “What should you do when a compact fluorescent light [CFL] breaks?”

She replies, “Get yourself into another zip code.”

Why? Well, she says that, since it contains mercury, there is a potential safety problem if it breaks. But, never fear, the EPA is there to help. According to a Consumer Report article, the EPA says to just follow these simple steps and all will be fine:

"Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes

When cleaning breakage on hard floors, wear disposable rubber gloves, scoop up the debris with cardboard, then clean up with a damp paper towel

When cleaning debris on carpet, pick up fragments and powder with sticky tape before vacuuming

Place all debris and cleaning materials (gloves, cardboard, etc.) into a plastic bag and seal it

Place the bag in ANOTHER plastic bag and seal it (remember – it's not just a toxin, it's a NEUROtoxin)

After vacuuming, remove the vacuum bag, put it in a plastic bag and seal it – then put it in another plastic bag and seal it

Put all bags in the trash outside, then wash your hands."
Ms. Thompson then says, “Of course, if your doctor suggests that you get a vaccine that uses mercury as a preservative – hey, no problem! The FDA says that's just fine! But if he drops the syringe and it breaks, you know the drill: open a window, leave the room, get out the plastic bags, etc. Right…and find another doctor.”

P.S. To get your own HSI e-Alert, visit

Spit For Health

Dr. William Campbell Douglass II reports that there is a correlation between spit and breast cancer. He says that “according to Charles Streckfus, a professor at the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston, ‘Breast cancer triggers a change in the type and amount of proteins in the secretions from the salivary glands.’"

Dr. Douglass also said that a test for this “could make the mammogram a thing of the past.” Of course, the bottleneck in this is the role of the FDA. It could take MANY (as many as 5 to 10) years before it is approved by the FDA. “Our tired, dusty government system is still locked in the days of the horse-and-buggy... [I’m] so mad about mammograms and the FDA that I could spit”. Now, if we could get enough women to do so...

If you’d like the complete report from Dr. Douglass, email me and I’ll forward it to you. You can also subscribe to the “Daily Dose” from Dr. Douglass

Cliff Barefield died today – 2 years ago

Clifford Barefield was born on June 12, 1936 in Kilgore, Texas. Cliff loved to dance to country western music. He once said, “There can never be too many songs to dance to.” [Well, he probably said “Yippee!” quite a few times, but that’s close enough.] Indubitably he danced many times to "Waltz Across Texas" (featured below)... Mr. Barefield died on February 6, 2006 in Houston, Texas.

Frankie Laine died today - 1 year ago

Singer Frankie Laine was born as Francesco Paolo LoVecchio on March 30, 1913 in Chicago, Illinois. He said, "In my leaner days I failed many an audition because, I was told, I sounded 'too black' . . . I'm certain the confusion was the direct result of the music that influenced me while I was developing my style. I guess I became the first of the so-called blue-eyed soul singers." [I'll have to listen better.]... Mr. Laine died on February 6, 2007 in San Diego, California.

Danny Thomas died today – 17 years ago

Actor Danny Thomas was born as Amos Muzyad Jahoob on January 6, 1914 in Deerfield, Michigan. He was the father of "That Girl" Marlo Thomas. He said, “Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It's what you do for others.” [But until you have “things” (like money), can you really do much for others, other than use your time and energy and effort? ... Hey, isn’t that just the equivalent of money?]... Mr. Thomas died on February 6, 1991 in Los Angeles, California.

Joseph Priestley died today – 204 years ago

Chemist (think: oxygen gas) Joseph Priestley was born on March 13, 1733 in Bristall Fieldhead, West Yorkshire, England. He said, “The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate." [But he hadn’t seen the cell phone... Oh, wait a minute. Talking is not necessarily communicating.]... Mr. Priestley died on February 6, 1804 in Northumberland, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thelma Ritter died today – 39 years ago

Actress Thelma Ritter was born on February 14, 1905 in Brooklyn, New York. She said, “Do you know what I like about your program? Even when I'm running the vacuum, I can understand it." [Was she talking about Lucille Ball?]... Ms. Ritter died in 1969 in New York City, New York.

Thomas Carlyle died today – 127 years ago

Writer Thomas Carlyle was born on December 4, 1795 in Ecclefechan, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. He said, “If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he had to say, and make fun of it." [You mean that they wouldn't want to know the truth?]... Mr. Carlyle died on February 5, 1881 in London, England.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Need some “Tico Tico”?

Now if that wasn’t enough, try this.

Betty Friedan died today – 2 years ago

U.S. writer (think: "The Feminine Mystique") Betty Friedan was born as Betty Naomi Goldstein on February 4, 1921 in Peoria, Illinois. She said, “Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength." [And don’t forget it.]... Ms. Friedan died on February 4, 2006 in Washington, D.C.

Liberace died today – 21 years ago

Pianist and showman Wladziu Valentino Liberace was born on May 16, 1919 in West Allis, Wisconsin. He said, “When the reviews are bad I tell my staff that they can join me as I cry all the way to the bank." [There's always a silver lining... or silver something.]... Mr. Liberace died on February 4, 1987 in Palm Springs, California.

Karen Carpenter died today – 25 years ago

U.S. singer Karen Anne Carpenter was born on March 2, 1950 in New Haven, Connecticut. She said, “Not enough people in this world are happy." [Amen to that!]... Ms. Carpenter died on February 4, 1983 in Downey, California.

We miss you, Karen.

Louis Jordan died today – 33 years ago

U.S. bandleader Louis Jordan was born on July 8, 1908 in Brinkley, Arkansas. He said, “With my little band, I did everything they did with a big band. I made the blues jump." [Yeh, man!]... Mr. Jordan died on February 4, 1975 in Los Angeles, California.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Buddy Holly died today – 49 years ago

U.S. singer and songwriter Buddy Holly was born as Charles Hardin Holley on September 7, 1936 in Lubbock, Texas.

He said, “If anyone asks you what kind of music you play, tell him 'pop.' Don't tell him 'rock'n'roll' or they won't even let you in the hotel." [It’s sure to be popular to someone.]... Mr. Holly died in an airplane crash on February 3, 1959 in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Woodrow Wilson died today – 84 years ago

U.S. President (28th, 1913-1921) Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born on December 28, 1856 in Staunton, Virginia.

He said, “A conservative is a man who thinks and sits, mostly sits." [You conserve more energy that way.]... Mr. Wilson died on February 3, 1924 in Washington, D.C.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Gene Kelly died today – 12 years ago

U.S. dancer and singer Gene Kelly was born on August 23, 1912 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

He said, “I got started dancing because I knew it was one way to meet girls." [You can move faster when you dance.]... Mr. Kelly died on February 2, 1996 in Beverly Hills, California.

Bertrand Russell died today – 38 years ago

Welsh philosopher Bertrand Arthur William Russell was born on May 18, 1872 in Trellech, Monmouthshire, Wales.

He said, “Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relative to other matter; second, telling other people to do so." [Which one would you choose?]... Mr. Russell died on February 2, 1970 in Penrhyndeudraeth, Wales.

Boris Karloff died today – 39 years ago

English actor Boris Karloff was born as William Henry Pratt on November 23, 1887 in Camberwell, London, England.

He said, “The monster was the best friend I ever had." [It takes all kinds.]... Mr. Karloff died on February 2, 1969 in Midhurst, Sussex, England.

Wendell Phillips died today – 124 years ago

U.S. abolitionist Wendell Phillips was born on November 29, 1811 in Baltimore, Maryland or Boston, Massachusetts. He said, “Write on my gravestone: 'Infidel, Traitor'; infidel to every church that compromises with wrong; traitor to every government that oppresses the people." [He didn’t mince words, did he?]... Mr. Phillips died on February 2, 1884 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Irish McCalla died today – 6 years ago

U.S. actress Nellie Elizabeth “Irish” McCalla was born on December 25, 1928 (or 1929) in Pawnee City, Nebraska.

She said, "I couldn't act, but I could swing through the trees." [Sometimes that’s all it takes.]... Ms. McCalla died in 2002 in Tucson, Arizona.

Hildegard Knef died today – 6 years ago

German actress and singer Hildegard Frieda Albertine Knef was born on December 28, 1925 in Ulm, Württemberg, Germany.

She said, “If you have to make mistakes, make them good and big; don't be middling if you can help it." [That way more people notice you.]... Ms. Knef died in 2002 in Berlin, Germany.

Herb Caen died today – 11 years ago

U.S. columnist (San Francisco Chronicle) Herbert Eugene Caen was born on April 3, 1916 in Sacramento, California.

He said, “I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there.” [Let me see... Yep!]... Mr. Caen died in 1997 in San Francisco, California.

Werner Heisenberg died today – 32 years ago

German physicist (think: Uncertainty Principle) Werner Karl Heisenberg was born on December 5, 1901 in Würzburg, Germany.

He said, “What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” [How do you know... for certain?]... Mr. Heisenberg died in 1976 in München (Munich), Germany.

Buster Keaton died today – 42 years ago

U.S. actor Buster Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas.

He said, “I don't act, anyway. The stuff is all injected as we go along. My pictures are made without script or written directions of any kind." [Then how did you know where you were going and when to stop?]... Mr. Keaton died in 1966 in Los Angeles, California.

Hedda Hopper died today – 42 years ago

U.S. gossip columnist Hedda Hopper was born as Elda Furry on May 2, 1885 in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.

She said, “And in singing, what my voice lacked in quality it made up for in volume.” [Maybe they didn’t notice.]... Ms. Hopper died in 1966 in Hollywood, California.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley died today – 157 years ago

English writer Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley was born on August 30, 1797 in Somers Town, London, England. She was married to Percy Bysshe Shelley.

She said, “It is hardly surprising that women concentrate on the way they look instead of what is in their minds since not much has been put in their minds to begin with." [At least in the olden days.]... Ms. Shelley died in 1851 in London, England.