July 22nd: Approximate Pies with Spoons

Animation of the act of unrolling a circle’s circumference, illustrating the ratio π. John Reid.

July 22nd is Approximate Pi Day (i.e. 22/7 = 3.14 or approximately π).

While we wait for tomorrow’s full moon, it sounds like a wonderful opportunity to eat approximately an entire pie, and make a list of your favorite spoonerisms.

Don’t fool around with electricity.

Maria Spelterini

Stereoscopic image of Maria Spelterini Crossing Niagara Falls, 1876. Photographed by George Curtis. Science Source / New York Public Library

Italian tightrope walker Maria Spelterini became the first and only woman to cross the Niagara gorge on a tightrope. Her first crossing was on July 8, 1876 as part of a U.S. Centennial celebration, and crossed again on July 12th, 19th, and 22nd, backwards with a paper bag over her head and wearing peach baskets on her feet, blindfolded, and with her ankles and wrists manacled respectively.

William Archibald Spooner

William Archibald Spooner as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, April 1898

English Professor William Archibald Spooner was born on July 22, 1844. He is most remembered for mixing up words with often comedic results. His signature turns of phrase are known as spoonerisms. 

Marie-Madeleine d’Aubray

French aristocrat  Marie-Madeleine d’Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers, born July 22, 1630. In 1676, she was tried, convicted, and executed for murdering her father and brothers to inherit their estate. François-Adrien Boieldieu wrote a popular opera based on her life called La marquise de Brinvilliers.

Georg Wilhelm Richmann

Physicist Georg Wilhelm Richmann was born on July 11, 1711. He was killed by lightning while experimenting with electricity (the first recorded death by electrical experimentation, but certainly not the last).

Death of the German physicist Georg Wilhelm Richmann (1711–1753), who was shocked by lightning during one of their thunderstorm electrical experiments in Saint Petersburg.

July 16th: Night of the Living

Zombies as portrayed in the movie Night of the Living Dead (1968)

George Romero died July 16, 2017. He made Night of the Living Dead. I guess those zombies are supposed to look scary, but to me, they just look like a horde of stepdads heading for the fridge in the middle of the night. And what’s with the one on the left? Did he just get back from a toga party?

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in the film Roberta (1935)

Born on July 16th: Saint Clare of Assisi, 1194. Her feast day is August 11th and her patronage includes eye disease, goldsmiths, laundry, television, embroiders, gilders, good weather, and needleworkers.

Also poet Susan Wheeler, 1955; actress and dancer Ginger Rogers, 1911; and farmer and popcorn extraordinaire Orville Redenbacher, 1905. Also artist Charles Sheeler, 1883; journalist and civil rights activist Ida Wells, 1862; and elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver, 1925. When she was twenty years old, she worked at the Empire State Building. On July 28, 1945, what was to be her last day of work with her fiance was returning home from the war, she survived an elevator crash that dropped her 1,000 feet. She was working on the 80th floor when a B-25 bomber accidentally crashed into the building on the 79th floor.  The blow caused the elevator car cables to snap and sent her into a 1,000-foot free fall. This plunge is still listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Although she never returned to regular work at the Empire State Building, five months later, she returned to the building and rode the elevator to the top.

The engine and part of the wing of a B-25 bomber are seen protruding from the Empire State Building after it crashed into the 79th floor of the structure in New York, July 28, 1945. (ERNIE SISTO/AP Photo)

For today: Interestingly, the 16th card in the tarot deck is The Tower, which the above AP photo kind of reminds me of. The card shows a tower being hit by lightning, and on fire, sometimes with people falling from it. The card is supposed to symbolize sudden destruction and violent change but like all tarot cards, and sudden change come to think of it, does not have to be an altogether sinister card.

As far as what the 16th tarot card means for you, I predict you could and should soon have in your possession piles of exploding kernels that will truly teach us to not resist the idea that violent change could lead to something so much better, provided you also have butter. Hopefully, this will occur with one or more zombie movies in queue.