French scientist and contributor to Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, Louis-Guillaume Le Monnier was born on June 27, 1717.
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.
On this day in 1473, Marie Theresa became Queen of Bohemia. Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII lost Bavaria, when allied French troops had to retreat to the Rhine River. Bohemia, incidentally, if we were in Geography class, is the westernmost region of what is now the Czech Republic. Then nomadic Romani people in France were called bohemian, thought to have traveled to Paris from Bohemia. So how did this word travel from mid-century Europe and end up on the online sales pages of Urban Outfitters you ask? The starving artist communities in the Latin Quarter of course, solidified to their pages of history by Henry Murger’s novel Scenes de la Vie de Boheme that became Puccini’s 1896 opera La Bohème.Adolfo Hohenstein (1854-1928), Publisher: G. Ricordi & Co.
After the 1890’s, the planks were laid for tortured and impoverished artists and writers to walk for at least some part of their formative years. Those asshole starving artists. Also delete that boho vest and vintage concert tee from your cart. No one looks good in fringe.
German chemist Justus von Liebig (now that is an excellent, made up name) was born in 1803. He is considered the founder of organic chemistry. Also, organic only means that a substance has carbon bonds, it doesn’t mean that the baked goods at your local natural food store are any better for you. It doesn’t mean they aren’t (but it probably means they won’t taste as good). Incidentally, von Liebig also founded the Liebig’s Extract of Meat Company, after he developed a process of manufacturing beef extract.
Florence Nightingale was born today in 1820. Though she is remembered for her nursing skills, she was also a statistician. Possibly I listened to too many Disney records on repeat growing up, but whenever I hear her name, I go right to Anastasia and Drizella’s singing lesson Cinderella, in which the tune of Sing Sweet Nightingale is sung very, very badly, and immediately after that, a Mary Poppins “Dreadful!” chimes in behind it. We were left alone a lot as kids. Moving on.
English poet, illustrator, and musician Edward Lear was born today in 1812. He published a number of works, including the Book of Nonsense; Illustrated Excursions in Italy; Mount Timohorit, Albania; Journal of a Landscape Painter in Greece and Albania; Nonsense Songs and Stories; Tortoises, Terrapins, and Turtles; and (my favorite) Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots, a volume of 42 color illustrations of parrots.
Katherine Hepburn was born today in 1907; painter Frank Stella in 1936, and George Carlin in 1937. Also, Emilio Estevez was born in 1962, let us not forget him. He’s had it hard enough playing second fiddle to Charlie Sheen his whole goddamned life. Also did you know he was married to Paula Abdul in the 1990’s? Maybe I used to know this and forgot, but now I feel like it will be in that good ol’ rolodex for good.
For those that met their tragic and/or wholly anticipating and fitting ends on this day: Eutychius, patriarch of Alexandria in 940; Liutold of Eppenstein, duke of Carinthia, in 1090; and naturalist Abraham Trembley, in 1784. His Wikipedia page says that he was one of the first to develop “experimental zoology.” I don’t know what that is, but it sounds very unhygienic, and I hope you stay out of it. Or at the very least wear shower shoes.
And with that, I will leave you to nap away this afternoon’s bucatini bender, with a nonsense poem by Edward Lear. Call your mother.
This post was originally published on theanatomyofmelancholy.com June 12, 2018
Today in 912, Alexander began his 13th month reign as the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire. In 1833, after just over a month at sea, The Lady of the Lake hit an iceberg 250 miles of the coast of Newfoundland and sank. Only fifteen of the estimated 275 people aboard survived.
Anne of Bohemia was born today in 1366. Ballerina Fanny Cerrito was born on 1817, as well as Detroit Tigers baseball player Charlie Gehringer, and let us not forget MTV VJ (wow, is that still a thing?) Martha Quinn, who has been keepin it real since 1959. Sort of related, though he has nothing to do with May 11, my friends and I were talking the other day, and did you know Kurt Loder is 73???
Leo VI the Wise, Byzantine Emperor, died today in 912. We’ve already covered his brother taking over if you have been paying attention. John D. Rockerfeller Jr. died today in 1960. As did mob boss Vincenzo Coloisomo, gunned down in Chicago in 1920. Though officially an unsolved murder, it has apparently been suggested that Al Capone fired those fatal bullets. Coincidentally, New York mob boss Joseph Bonanno died today in 2002, at the grand old age of 97.
With this information, plans for the weekend should include:
- pasta and/or breadsticks carbo-loading (but please not at the Olive Garden. The Macaroni Grill is similarly blacklisted. Actually, if you must pick between the two, go with Olive Garden. There is something so unappetizing about the other name.
- twirling said pasta with a spoon and a fork and rolling your poor meatballs onto the floor, watching sadly as said rueful meatballs roll out the door
- watching Married to the Mob, a 1988 classic
- and finally listening to Mob Hits, volumes 1 & 2, preferably on cassette. This one is my favorite. Don’t translate it into English though, it’s much more racy than its melody and frequent plays at Italian weddings would suggest.
Originally published at theanatomyofmelancholy.com on May 11, 2018.