Born on July 10th: Painter Camille Pissarro, in 1831; creator of the daguerreotype, Louis Daguerre, in 1851; physicist Nikola Tesla, in 1856; writers Marcel Proust, in 1871 and Alice Munroe (one of my personal favorite writers), in 1931; and musicians Béla Fleck, in 1958 and Jelly Roll Morton, in 1941.
July 10th is the birthday of Nancy Drew mystery writer Mildred Benson. She was born in 1905 and was the first of several writers who wrote under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene for the young adult mystery series.
On July 10, 1913, the atmospheric temperature in Death Valley, California hit the highest ever recorded on Earth: 134 °F (57 °C), measured at Furnace Creek. According to the 2010 Census, Furnace Creek has a population of 24. In case you are curious, the interests of the residents of Furnace Creek are represented by Republicans for both the state and federal legislature: Senator Tom Berryhill, guilty of money laundering in 2014; the clearly engaged Congressman Paul Cook; and state assembly member Devon Mathis, who has allegedly been seen drunk on the job by former staffers, and much more troubling, accused of sexual assault. He seems like a real charmer worthy of holding public office.
Sounds like we have stumbled across the actual hell on earth.
For today: Nothing matters. Be quiet and eat a madeleine.
a slightly different version of this post was first published July 10, 2018 at theanatomyofmelancholy.com
Belgian artist Félicien Rops was born on July 7, 1833. Also Belarusian poet Yanka Kupala, in 1882 and poet Margaret Walker, in 1915. Otto Rohwedder was born on July 7, 1880. He invented the first automatic bread slicing machine. The Chillicothe Baking Company sold the first loaves on July 7, 1928, on Rohwedder’s 48th birthday. Satchel Paige was born on July 7, 1906. Science fiction author Robert Anson Heinlein was born July 7, 1907.
Actress Shelly Duvall was born on July 7, 1949. Anyone else see The Shining way too young? That movie, along with the fear of hell’s eternal fire, and this wallpaper gave me many sleepless nights, staring into the abyss.
There are a litany of symbols and superstitions around the number 7. But I am feeling very lazy so I will give you a list of the Seven deadly sins and wrap this up. Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. The deadliest for today: (I took care of sloth for you) Pride.
Today’s meditation: I mean is sliced bread really that great?
For today: Play a game of Chutes and Ladders.
July 5th Birthdays
1794: Reverend Sylvester Graham, inventor of the cracker, diehard Puritan if ever there was. Let’s just say I don’t think he would approve of s’mores.
1810: Co-founder of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus P.T. Barnum.
1832: Russian painter Pavel Christyakov.
1849: Victorian era journalist William Stead. Considered to have paved the way for tabloid journalism, he died in the sinking of the Titanic.
1862: Microbiologist George Nuttall, who, along with William Welch, co-discovered Clostridium perfringens, the bacteria that causes gangrene.
1889: Poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau.
1996: Dolly the Cloned Sheep.
Today’s tarot card is the Hierophant, the fifth card in the Major Arcana, signifying tradition, dogma, and authority. However, 5’s in traditional tarot numerology mean change and instability. Also, the moon is in Mercury, bringing swift transmutation.
So should you change your mind or your outfit? Your outfit. The accuracy of my summary as they relate to your evening: call it the Barnum effect.
Sirius is part of the Canis Major constellation, lower and to the left of Orion. In mythology, the name Sirius is used in a variety of stories, including the dog of Icarus. If you are a superstitious sort, you can expect bad luck, intense heat, abrupt thunderstorms, fevers, flooding, and a generally more ill-tempered population. Many of them originate from Greek mythology. The hunting dog of Orion, his appearance was generally not a welcome omen. The Farmer’s Almanac entry cites Virgil’s description of Sirius “as a ‘bringer of drought and plague to frail mortals, rises and saddens the sky with sinister light.’”
Wow, I think our luck is about to change. While researching canine symbology and derivatives of the name Sirius, I think I might have stumbled upon something huge. Like New Testament or Star Trek: the Next Generation huge. Like they are blowing the lid off of all of everything and cracking it all wide open. It’s … a lot.
Either way, fortunately there is a wikiHow to save us: How to Get Rid of Bad Luck (with pictures!) I love wikiHow. Full disclosure: I inherited a good many superstitions from a childhood deeply influenced by 1st generation Italian grandparents, and I absolutely throw salt over my shoulder.
I’m off tomorrow, so catch you all on Monday. Be careful with fireworks, for serious.
Lucky number: 101
Affirmation: All dogs go to heaven
Good luck finding your way out there.
a slightly different version of this post was first published on theanatomyofmelancholy.com on July 3, 2018
Following on the theme of last night’s halfmoon, we have reached the exact midpoint of the year (12 noon July 2nd).
Born on July 2nd: organ builder extraordinaire Arp Schnitger (as in musical instruments, not Dr. Frankenstein), French dancer Liane de Pougy; the last Queen of Bavaria Maria Theresa of Austria-Este; Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska; racecar driver Reg Parnell.
I’m not a racing expert (I am not really even that great at regular driving), but I am pretty sure you should be facing the other way.
July 2nd also marks the anniversary of the 1560 death of Nostradamus. Also the first Zeppelin flight in 1900 (three years before the first airplane). Also, the Lawrence Welk show debuted today in 1955. Electrical engineer Guglielmo Marconi obtained a patent for the radio in London on July 2, 1897.
So here we are, on the first day of the second half of the year, or in AA-speak the first day of the rest of your life. I think you should pause and read this lovely poem by Wislawa Szymborska. Then you and a group of your friends could play on a classic radio game or perhaps a virtual game of telephone? Or you could build an organ (the Dr. Frankenstein kind).
BY WISŁAWA SZYMBORSKA TRANSLATED BY JOANNA TRZECIAK
After every war
someone has to clean up.
straighten themselves up, after all.
Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
and bloody rags.
Someone has to drag in a girder
to prop up a wall.
Someone has to glaze a window,
rehang a door.
Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.
We’ll need the bridges back,
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.
Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls the way it was.
Someone else listens
and nods with unsevered head.
But already there are those nearby
starting to mill about
who will find it dull.
From out of the bushes
sometimes someone still unearths
and carries them to the garbage pile.
Those who knew
what was going on here
must make way for
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.
In the grass that has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out
blade of grass in his mouth
gazing at the clouds.
July 1st is the 202nd anniversary of the discovery of The Great Comet of 1819. In 1770, Lexell’s Comet came closer to the Earth than Considered a lost comet, Lexell’s Comet came in the closest proximity to Earth of any comet ever recorded. It came “super close” (not very close), and then sped off into the emptiness of space, and has never been seen again.
Born on July 1st: Writers George Sand, co-author of Elements of Style William Strunk Jr., and Irna Phillips. Known as “Queen of the Soaps, Phillips created Guiding Light, As the World Turns, and Another World.
Also born on July 1st: painter and naturalist Willard Metcalf, mountaineer and founder of the Sierra Club David Brower, mathematician Jean Dieudonné, cosmetics entrepreneur Estée Lauder, and English pilot Amy Johnson.
Tonight the waning moon enters the last quarter moon. Half-lit by the sun, the moon has completed 3/4ths of its orbit. Some astrologers suggest we are more accident-prone during this time, or at least a little more clumsy. The moon is in Aires, which could make us fiery and impulsive.
Overall a wonderful setup for a soap opera script which I would like you to draft using the cast of characters above. Bonus points if you can work in getting ghosted by a comet.
June 30th is the birthday of singer Lena Horne, musician Stanley Clarke, folk singer Dave Van Ronk; and Lithuanian poet Czesław Miłosz. Also born on June 30th: Engineer and inventor of the modern hot air balloon Ed Yost; magician Harry Blackstone Jr, and sports broadcaster Harry Wismer.
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.