Quote of the day :
I’m Death, and I make sure that everyone is equal.
~ Jacob Grimm
Picture of the day :
An abandoned, derelict air-raid shelter in a woods in Lincolnshire in the 80’s
Youtube video of the day :
Going with a little culture and some pretty catchy guitar work today, Isaac Albeniz playing ‘Asturias’
Born on this day…
Born today :
- Professor and author, Jacob Grimm (b.1785)
The eldest of the brothers Grimm, he and his sibling believed that folktales were important to everyone because they expressed the dreams, fears and joys of mankind. Their fairy tale collection covered stories from the southern tip of Spain to the far north of Finland and are considered the greatest single anthology of fairytales in the world. Disney for a start turned many of the stories into movies. Perhaps you’ve heard of a few? Like Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty…
He was in his day more famous for his academic and literary skills. His posts included private librarian to King Jerome of Westphalia, librarian and lecturer at the University of Gottingen, delegate to the Congress of Vienna and a professor in Berlin. As well as being a leading authority on German history, linguistics and etymology, he was fluent in seven languages and conversant in more.
- Teacher, Louis Braille (b.1809)
Blinded himself at three, the Frenchman, while still at school, devised the tactile, raised alphabet for the blind that bears his name and is still used throughout the world.
- Teacher, Sir Isaac Pitman (b.1813)
Invented the form of shorthand that bears his name and is used throughout the world today
(I thought it was interesting that the two men about were born on the same day just 4 years apart and both invented a unique system of writing (and reading) that is still the standard centuries later).
- Scientist, Sir Isaac Newton (b.1643)*
English physicist and mathematician, regarded as one of the most influential scientists of all time.
*(Note that you may also see his birthday as 25th December 1642, the latter is the date on his records, in ‘old style’, the former, January 4th is ‘new style date. All to do with Julian and Gregorian calendars. I imagine it drives historians potty.)
- Country singer, Patty Loveless
- Sci-Fi author, Jan Stacy
- Actress, Barbara Rush
- Actor, Julian Sands
- Actor and voice actor, Sterling Holloway
The voice of Winnie the Pooh and of many Disney characters
- Actor, Gary Jones
- Actor, Matt Frewer
- Artist, Augustus John
- Boxer, Floyd Patterson
- Performer, General Tom Thumb
- Ornithologist, Bond, James Bond (b.1900)
I looked him up out of curiousity and it turned out that Fleming was a bird man himself and a read James Bond’s books and borrowed his name (with permission) for his spy.
Also on this day in history
1885 : The first successful appendix operation (appendectomy) was performed in Iowa by Dr Williams West Grant.
1896 : Utah became the 45th state of America
1891 : Chemist and industrialist Herbert Dow used electrolysis to extract bromine from sea water.
1936 : ‘Billboard’ magazine published the first ever pop chart in New York, based on record sales. Violinist Joe Venuti was the first number 1.
1972 : Hewlett-Packard introduces the HP-35, the first scientific handheld calculator. It’s introduction marked the beginning of the end for slide rules.
1996 : GM announces its electric car.
1998 – A massive ice storm hit eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. It lasted days rather than a few hours and causing widespread destruction as phone-lines, power-cables, trees and roofs collapsed the weight of the ice, ‘pylons crumbled like paperclips’. Over 3,000 km of power-lines were lost as a result. The clip below with give you an idea of the scale of the damage.
1999: Eleven European Union swapped their national currencies for the euro, promising much and hoping to become the new world currency. Seems to me, reading the news over the years, rather a lot of countries regret that decision now.
2004 : NASA Mars rover Spirit successfully landed on Mars.
Trending at this moment:
In the trends for all the wrong reasons is the film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ which the Mirror calls the sweariest film of all time. (I know sweariest isn’t a word, it’s the Mirror, not the Times, what can you do, eh!)
The potty-mouthed thriller starring Leonardo Di Caprio contains 506 uses of the ‘F-word’ in just three hours – the equivalent of a swear word almost every 20 seconds.
‘We’ve got a lousy plot, how do we sell it?’
‘Just swear. A lot.’
How is that acting? You can hear ‘better’ than that in any high street or public transport system in the UK. All it shows is a lack of intelligent, vocabulary, dignity and story plot. The film, if you can call it that, is released in the UK on the 17th, though if that’s all they have to offer, I wouldn’t bother, it’s ****!
Also trending is Dave Allen after the BBC did a special evening with 3 hours of his work. He was one of my favourite comedians when I was younger. Unlike ‘funny’ people today he, like the two Ronnies and others of that period, managed to be genuinely funny. They used carefully timed and placed wit, innuendo, genuine humour and just the right level of being risqué without feeling the need to cuss continually or descend into gratuitous vulgarity. Smut can be suitable for most tastes without being offensive – being deliberately nasty to get a laugh just means they aren’t good enough to be inventive.