Saturday, January 19, 2008

On My Birth and Other Mostly Unrelated Happenstances

Yesterday was my birthday, and also my excuse for not writing. Because Blogger will not let me alter reality by changing the dates of my posts, we’re all going to have to put our imagination caps on and get those brains fired up. For the purposes of this exercise, today is yesterday (and tomorrow: today!) Got it?

Now you, like me, probably view January 18th as an important day because it was the day I made parole and was released from my amniotic prison 23 years ago. However, don’t be blinded by the immensity of this event; throughout the course of history, lots of interesting things took place on the 18th day of the year. Here, I will expound upon a few of those, peppering them with wry commentary that ideally will make me seem witty and sexually desirable.

1778: James Cook is the first European to arrive on the Hawaiian Islands, which he dubs the “Sandwich Islands.” I’m not terribly impressed or interested with this fact, but would you believe that it was the first event in the history of January 18ths that does not induce yawning? This does remind me that I want to revisit The Colony, that book about the horrendously inhumane leper colonies that used to exist on Hawaii. Also: Colony contains the word “Colon,” which often contains sandwiches, but not islands.

1788: The first fleet of ships carrying British criminal prisoners arrives in Botany Bay, Australia. Something about the idea of an entire continent being slowly populated by fornicating criminals is just hilarious.

1884: Dr. William Price attempts to cremate the body of his infant son, setting a legal precedent for cremation in the UK. This dude attempted to publicly burn his deceased son, but was thwarted when another dude ran up and grabbed the baby out of the fire. The kid’s name was Jesus Christ Price. This naturally led to some confusion, as the heroic man shouted “Jesus Christ, Price!” as he shoved the doctor out of the way and plucked the dead infant from the flames, to which Dr. Price replied, “Yeah, that’s him.”

1912: British explorer Robert Falcon Scott arrives at the South Pole only to find that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had preceded him by just over a month. Pwnd.

1944: The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City hosts a jazz concert for the first time. The performers were Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden. Sixty-four years later, white Americans still don’t get it and black jazz musicians have become white Europeans. 99.7% of children who pick up the trumpet will extend their musicianship no further than “Eye of the Tiger,” and the other 0.3% are absorbed into Anthony Braxton’s graduate ensembles, which ironically alienate traditional jazz-bos, who can usually be seen exiting the performance hall in between movements.

1967: Albert DeSalvo, the "Boston Strangler," is convicted of numerous crimes and is sentenced to life in prison. Notable name, but not a particularly noteworthy serial killer. I’m still waiting for that favorite thriller movie plotline to take place in the real world: the serial killer that kills serial killers. Granted, the logistics of this are so implausible as to be nearly able to physically damage the brain if one thinks about them for too long, but still. That serial killer would be the ultimate serial killer of all history. The only way it could be topped was if a serial killer arose that only killed serial killer-killing serial killers. This could continue ad infinitum ad absurdum, until the only way to become newsworthy once more would be to become a serial killer that doesn’t kill anyone at all. Now there’s a movie.

1969: United Airlines Flight 266 crashes into Santa Monica Bay, killing all 32 passengers and six crew members.
1977: Australia’s worst rail disaster occurs in Sydney, killing 83.
1986: An Aerovias aircraft crashes into San Benito Peten jungle in Guatemala, killing all 110 passengers.

Satan clears out some room population-wise to accommodate my arrival. Later, I’d totally snub that asshole when he claimed I owe him my soul because of this “favor” he did for me.

1998: Lewinsky scandal: Matt Drudge breaks the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair story on his website The Drudge Report. Matt Drudge has the most utterly appropriate surname of all time. I think all the talk of cigars and stained dresses around the time of this scandal resulted in the constellation of some sharp, focused imagery regarding things that were previously hazy and ill-understood by my 13 year old brain. Actually, that’s debatable. It’s a toss-up between that and grabbing my first boobies. I still like Bill, though.

Quick Facts:

  • Jim O’Rouke is the only person I find notable that shares a birthday with me, and Rudyard Kipling the only interesting person that passed on this day.

  • If the Japanese Emperor Daigo were still alive and was down for partying with me, he’d be celebrating his 1123th birthday, making him slightly over one millennium older than me. Though I’m not a drinker, I might friggin’ drink to that.

  • My birthday is Winnie the Pooh day, to which I say: Poo. Heh.

Stay tuned for next year’s installment, which will feature absolutely no updates and will likely retain any typographical errors made in this year’s entry. Thanks for playing along. Today can be today again, and tomorrow’ll be something new.

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