View of Hyde Park Corner Turnpike, Westminster, London, 1792.

Civil engineer John Metcalf, also known as Blind Jack, was born on August 15, 1717. Blind from the age of six, he has a surprising legacy in pioneering modern road construction, along with John MacAdam and Thomas Telford.

Also born on August 15th:

Napoléon Bonaparte, 1769

Writer Sir Walter Scott , 1771.

Writer and abolitionist Eliza Lee Cabot, 13th child of Samuel and Sarah, 1785.

Founder of the Labour PartyKeir Hardie, 1856.

“The Frog asks to be allowed to enter the Castle”, illustration for The Frog Prince, Walter Krane, 1874

Artist Walter Crane,1845. He is remembered especially for his illustrations in children’s literature, and in popularizing the Arts and Crafts movement.

Magical writer and poet Edith Nesbit, 1858.

Composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor, 1875.

Baseball player and controversial manager and owner of the Chicago White Sox, Charles Comiskey, 1859.

Actresses Ethel Barrymore, 1879 and Estelle Brody, 1900

Expressionist painter Jack Tworkov, 1900

Chef, author, and teacher Julia Child, 1912

Graphic designer Paul Rand, 1914

Artist Leonard Baskin, 1922

On August 15th:

Aug. 15, 1939: Munchkins join the “Wizard of Oz” festivities at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. (Gordon Wallace / Los Angeles Times)

The Panama Canal opened in1914.

The Wizard of Oz premiered in Los Angeles in 1939.

Woodstock opened in 1969.

According to the Calendar of Weird Holidays, August 15th is National Leathercraft Day, Lemon Meringue Pie Day, and National Relaxation Day. The Old Farmers Almanac says August 15th is a good day to plant aboveground crops, breed animals, slaughter livestock, brew beer or cider, and begin a diet to gain weight, so go get on that pie I guess?

Tonight’s moon is the first quarter moon and in the astrological sign Scorpio. The Sun is all by itself in Leo.

What all of this means for the rest of your weekend:

I don’t know. Today I learned that a large part of the modern road system over which we transverse was conceived and executed by a blind man, so I have some thinking to do.