Friday, October 16, 2009

The Cat Piano

The Cat Piano is a tale about a city of singing cats is preyed upon by a shadowy figure intent on performing a twisted feline symphony.

Here's a great piece of animation set to a poem by Eddie White. It's not the greatest poem ever written but a brilliantly sneaky way to get your kids to read poetry.


The word of the day is:
Stiricide: noun, falling of icicles from a house. The icy quiet after the storm was shattered by Mrs. Witherbottoms shrieks. Sprawled out under the eaves, blood, now congealed and frozen, masking his face, was Mr. Wetwilly - a clear victim of stiricide.

Here's your Today in History:
On this date in 1792 (or 1799), there was baptised in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a boy named Francisco Morazàn. He was young, like most newborns, and full of idealism. After a disappointing childhood, in which he turned out not to have been born to wealth and privilege, he decided first to educate himself and then to enlist in the fight against Mexican annexation of Honduras.

After a disappointing loss, in which Honduras turned out to be a part of Mexico even though neither of them was any longer a part of Spain, Morazàn joined the government of the United Provinces of Central America. Two years later he was the president of the Honduras State legislature, and the following year he became president of the entire United Provinces by means of the traditional Central American electoral process ("civil war").

As president, he tried to limit the powers of the Roman Catholic Church, which eventually led to a new round of elections ("civil wars") that produced a new president, this time from the State of Guatemala. The new president exiled Morazàn, who returned several years later calling for electoral reform ("revolution") and was therefore impeached ("shot in the head") by one of his own troops.

It's a holiday in Honduras today.

But it is not a holiday in Guatemala.

Or Mexico.

Also, Deposed French queen Joséphe Jeanne Marie Antoinette sits in an open cart, enduring hours of public ridicule as she is slowly driven around the streets of Paris, on this day in 1793.

Finally, she is taken to the guillotine. Before she loses her head, Antoinette tells the crowd: "Farewell, my children, forever. I go to your Father."

She wasn't having a good day.

It's also the birthday of Oscar Wilde (1854), known for his barbed wit, was one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day.

In between bouts of buggery, he found time to write the following passage in The Picture of Dorian Gray: "Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the caveman had known how to laugh, History would have been different." Unfortunately for Oscar, had he fled England in the spring of 1895, his history would have been different.

I believe that cavemen did indeed know how to laugh, and that people who accuse humanity of being too serious obviously aren't paying attention. Voluminous scientific research has incontrovertibly proven that we are the only species to giggle at one other's farts.

I reminds you that our lives are haphazard accidents in an indifferent world and that the very absurdity of life is what gives it the most meaning. Burp. Laugh.

Ignore the serious bastards (and remember that we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.)

October 16, 1946 -
At Nuremberg, Germany, 10 high-ranking Nazi officials were executed by hanging for World War II war crimes.

Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and chief of the German air force,

was to have been among them but he committed suicide in his cell the night before.

That must have been some neck stretching party.

October 16, 1964 -
China detonated its first atomic bomb.

For god sakes, please tip the delivery guys a hell of a lot more.

October 16, 1972 -
A light plane carrying House Democratic leader Hale Boggs of Louisiana (the most outspoken and critical member of the Warren Commission) and three other men was reported missing in Alaska. The plane was never found.

Perhaps if they had that bridge to nowhere, they would have found them.

October 16, 1984 -
Black Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa won the Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle against apartheid.

Sometimes, the good guys win.

And so it goes

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