Today I will just send my sincerest congratulations along with an anecdote about Wismer as told by sportswriter George Plimpton: “He was an odd man. He used to say ‘Congratulations’ to many people he met, on the grounds that they had probably done something they could be proud of.”
Since I am still restoring older posts, I have decided to use old ones when the day fits. So this was originally published on theanatomyofmelancholy.com on June 29, 2018. I will stick with the same message as overall it still applies. It is uncanny (or perhaps completely predictable) that my head is in the exact same place as it was 1, 096 days ago.
French writer Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste was born June 29, 1900. He wrote The Little Prince.
Today is the third day in a row that I have started a post, put considerable time into researching, only to throw in the towel when I realize it is the end of the day and I still only have lists and scaps. Is everything feeling rushed and left half-done for you these days as well?
I was about to give up and hit close on this browser window, when I saw one the names of another person I had read about for today — Claude-Frédéric Bastiat, an economist born June 29, 1801. He wrote an essay called Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (That Which We See and That Which We Do Not See) in 1850, which is known as the parable of the broken window. He argues that it does not make economic sense for societies to spend money to repair the destruction. He works it out that spending money to repair, for example, a broken window, does not result in a gain to society, even if the glazier gets paid to replace a window. Basically, it is a libertarian appeal to consider opportunity costs.
Fine, fine — I don’t particularly agree with his assessment, but I see how he got there. Anyway, it got me thinking about sunk cost fallacies (the tendency to throw good money into a bad investment rather than walk away, because it is enormously difficult for people to abandon what they have put time and/or money into ). It did give me the resolve hit to select+ delete a whole page of work and just make a post about the writer of one of my very favorite books.
Aren’t we all just a sunk cost fallacy, getting worse for the wear year after year, but we persevere? If only to stick it a thorn in the side of all of those smug little misanthropes who walk around muttering about population control, and Darwin Awards, and the crisis of the radical alt-left. In The Little Prince, as the prince cries and misses his rose, far away on his home asteroid B- 612, the fox says “It is the time you have lost for your rose that makes your rose so important.” We are all each our own sulking little rose and the one who mourns for it.
As for insight and advice about what this means for the days ahead, I wrote it all down for you and put it in the box with the little sheep. You’re welcome.
Henry VIII was born today in 1457. Flemish painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens was born on June 28, 1577. Violinist Stefi Geyer was born in Budapest on June 28, 1888. Heir presumptive Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated today in 1914, igniting factor of World War I. Coincidentally, the Treaty of Versailles was signed exactly five years later, officially calling an end to the war.
Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Old Woman and Boy with Candles, c. 1616/17
According to The Secret Language of Birthdays, the tarot card associated with June 28th is The Magician. The first card of the Major Arcana in a traditional tarot deck, it signifies all possibilities. Cups, wands, coins, and swords are held or before him; a lemniscate or symbol of infinity crowns him, and he is pointing to the heavens and the earth. It’s a good wish card, so perhaps you could make a Möbius strip and contemplate your dreams the way one might pray with beads? But it is also a what-goes-around-comes-around, be careful what you wish for card. Watch out for fakes and charlatans. I will take the stage direction and make my quiet exit the way my dog does when he finds something he might like to eat (usually from the garbage) but is afraid I might take away from him — backward, slowly, without eye contact, sudden movement, or the slightest acknowledgment that something might be amiss.
I love encyclopedias. We had a white and green leather set, published circa 1962 (I only know that because of the number of times they made it into the citations of a great many poorly-researched high school papers in the early-to-mid 1990s and that according to these volumes, the moon landing had not happened yet). I am positive encyclopedia diagrams lead directly to my interest in mixed media art. I recall in particular the “F” volume had an intricate series of layered pictures of the anatomy of a frog, using clear sheets and onion skin paper that was just lovely.
Also born on June 27th: musician Elmo Hope, Helen Keller, and physicist and astronaut Joseph P. Allen.
June 27th is also Seven Sleepers Day. Known as Siebenschläfertag, it’s basically German groundhog’s day. Folklore says that today’s weather predicts what the weather will be like in July and August. Though this is a German holiday, the medieval story of the Cave of the Seven Sleepers is found in both Christian and Islamic religious traditions.
You can take a day trip to the Cave of the Seven Sleepers in the Dead Sea for less than $60, excluding travel costs to Amman, the capital city of Jordan. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that, like me, you could not in your wildest dreams afford this right now so how about you build a pillow fort and nap inside it instead? It will feel hot and stuffy, and presumably also predict the weather for the next 8-12 weeks.
June 26th is the 1819 birthday of Civil War General Abner Doubleday. He has long been rumored to have invented baseball, though he never claimed this, and it is actually not true. I thought he did too until today, though apparently it has been widely debunked for quite some time, but I spent a good deal of time on the doubledayfield.com photo gallery because though I don’t particularly care about baseball, early photographs of baseball players are inexplicably one of my most favorite things.
I was thinking this morning a fatal flaw of mine is that I almost invariably assume people are telling me the truth unless there is some direct evidence to prove otherwise. And even then, it’s not so much that I will believe anything, but I will let us hover in a delusion if it is the easier and/or merciful thing to do.
For example, after we both listened to a co-worker outright lie about the status of a work project, knowing full well she was lying, and knowing full well she knew we knew she was lying, a friend of mine observed that both of us listened to the bold-faced absolute insanity of the explanation without blinking an eye and without a single challenge because we both grew up around addicts, and learned to navigate within a world of denial. I think this is probably true.
I don’t consider myself an especially honest or dishonest person (though I am probably better than most at compartmentalizing). My father has said all of his daughters are masterful at telling half-truths, leaving out the critical and objectionable details when it serves us, but I am of the mind that this is just a crucial survival skill.
I can think critically about books, journalism, marketing, and whatnot, but if someone is speaking to me one-on-one, I will accept almost anything at face value. Given that it’s estimated that we lie about 1/5th of the time every single day, even to ourselves, I wonder about the amount of missing or outright false information each of us is working with every day.*
Anyway, June 26th is also the date of birth of mathematician Leopold Löwenheim; Lebanese painter Daoud Corm (also a mentor to writer Khalil Gibran); Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia; inventor Yoshiro Nakamatsu; astronaut Pavel Ivanovich Belyayev; French poet and activist Aimé Césaire; and British-French secret agent Violette Szabo who was unfortunately captured and executed by Germans in 1945.
June 26th is the Feast Day of Jeremiah, the weeping prophet and Christian martyr Pelagius of Córdoba, patron saint of torture victims, the abandoned, the city of Castro Urdiales, and Spain.
I am feeling kind of blue today, so I don’t have any recommendations or predictions for your day, but here is a link to listen to fiddler Kenny Baker, who was born today in 1926. Maybe listen to this while you journal about what crucial information you have been keeping from yourself and/or others and why that might be.
And here is a link to my favorite astrologist Free Will Astrology if you are looking for a horoscope.
*I did feel the need to at least lookup and confirm that estimate, given the overall subject matter, and found some interesting links.