Friday, November 13, 2009

Boo (it's Friday the 13th)

November 13, 1789 -
Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to a friend in which he said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

I always took Ben to be a more cheerful fellow.

The modern basis for Friday the 13th phobia dates back to Friday, October 13, 1307.

On this date, the Pope Clement in Conjunction with the King Philip of France secretly ordered the mass arrest of all the Knights Templar in France. The Templars were terminated (burned to a crisp) for apostasy, idolatry, heresy, "obscene rituals" and homosexuality, corruption and fraud, and secrecy, never again to hold the power that they had held for so long.

Those wacky Knights were such party animals.

November 13, 1940 -
Walt Disney's film 'Fantasia,' opened in New York .

Fantasia, despite its initial commercial failure, went on to become one of the most popular films of all time and is today considered a classic film.

November 13, 1955 -
Happy Birthday Caryn

Whoopi Goldberg (Caryn Elaine Johnson) actress, comedienne, and television host, was born on this day.

Today in History -
November 13, 1927 -

New York's Holland Tunnel officially opened today, the first underwater tunnel built in the United States, providing access between New York City and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River, ushering in a massive wave of Dutch immigration (and more fools them - The tunnel was named after its chief engineer, Clifford Milburn Holland, who died of a heart attack on the operating table while undergoing a tonsillectomy, as a posthumous honor, starting the trend for the NY/NJ interstate crossings to have names with no relation to their geographic locations).

Most of the Dutch returned to Holland after learning that New Amsterdam had become New York.

While it is a particularly uneventful day in history, let us opine these words:

"The students are beyond control and their behavior is disgraceful. They come blustering into the lecture-rooms like a troop of maniacs and upset the orderly arrangements which the master has made in the interest of his pupils. Their recklessness is unbelievable and they often commit outrages which ought to be punishable by law, were it not that custom protects them."

People concerned about the pace of change in human affairs can find solace in knowing that these familiar sentiments were expressed about sixteen centuries ago by St. Augustine, who was born on November 13, 354 AD.

Like many other theological luminaries, Augustine began life as a debauched young man who sought his pleasures in wine, women, and song. Eventually he became old and cranky and declared his youth wasted. The drunken orgies of his youth are recounted in his Confessions, which have at last been optioned by HBO and are expected to begin production later this year.

And so it goes.

On a personal note: I've been dividing my time as of late between this daily distraction and a friends' new site

If you have a chance, check it out.

1 comment:

zoe said...

oh, that will be exciting! we really get to watch St. Augustine's youthful orgies? if there'd been a youtube back then, he never would have gotten that lovely "st." before his name :)