"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Birthdays Today

A really remarkable series of birthdays today.   First, it is Jonathan Swift's birthday, the author of Gulliver's Travels, who was born in 1667.   Then, in 1835, Mark Twain was born.  So, arguably, the greatest English satirist and the greatest American comic novelist (if not the greatest American novelist period, for Huck Finn) were born on the same day.

Today is also the birthday of the Great Man of the Twentieth Century, Winston Churchill.  We are not who we are, if Churchill was not who he was. 

Also born today, in 1937, was one of my favorite movie directors, Ridley Scott, the director of the cult classic Blade Runner, the original Alien and the Academy Award-winning Gladiator; the playwright, David Mamet, author of Glengarry Glen Ross; and the great football/baseball player, Bo Jackson (hard to believe he's 48).   Here are some of his greatest runs in football, his best sport; the last one is the one that freakishly ended his career -- his leg muscles were so strong that he pulled his leg out of its hip socket when tackled from behind. Later, he came back to play major league baseball at least for a time with an artificial hip.

Finally, born today in 1982 was the actress (from 24), Elisha Cuthbert, who is included in this august company for the simple reason that, well, you know:

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