And I share this day with some really interesting people - these are the ones I would put candles on a cake for:
- Erasmus (1469) - I have seen him born on the 26th, too, but I'm going to ignore that. Still, it's hard to resist a sage who said: "Whether a party can have much success without a woman present I must ask others to decide, but one thing is certain, no party is any fun unless seasoned with folly." And I love the Holbein portrait.
- Capt. James Cook (1728) - a real sailor!
- Nicolo Paganini (1782) - because I love the violin, because of the Caprices (a heavy vein of gold for many other musicians), because he was thought to have made a pact with the Devil to play as he did - Yay!
- Theodore Roosevelt (1858) - the Bull Moose. When he was bad, he was pretty horrid, but he was more often very very good, and he overcompensated like hell. An American self-transformer if there ever was one.
- Enid Bagnold (1889) - hey, National Velvet, The Chalk Garden, and more, all tough-minded.
- Dylan Thomas (1914) - the lyre.
- Roy Lichtenstein (1923) - "Pow!"
- Sylvia Plath (1932) - lyric and savage.
- John Cleese ((1939) - tall, dark and furious.
- Maxine Hong Kingston (1940) - a big voice from (as she tells it) a small one.
- Carrie Snodgress (1946) - whoa, I miss her!
- Fran Lebowitz (1950) - I was thrilled to find out a few years ago that we shared a birthday, that she is a fan of James McCourt, and that she knows where to go for a steak in Portland. I'd be quaking, but I'd love to sit at table with her. As she said, ""Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine." And she prizes good manners.
So, a great day to all born today (I have left out many admirables, but even more wretches). And, hey, in 1871, Boss Tweed was arrested for Tammany Hall corruption - is that an apt historical echo, or what?
We'll find out!