The Egyptian Caliph Ali az-Zahir was born on this day in 1005. And he died just shy of 31 years later. What I think is interesting about him is how one can take a ruler that young seriously. That’s not to say you can’t be an idiot at an older age. Just look at the United States Congress. Or Rick Perry. But can someone that young be wise? I just don’t think so. And don’t bring up Jesus, because even if you belief in that man who is now at best 90% myth, you must know that we don’t really have any idea how old he was. And regardless, according to those who study this stuff, Jesus only started his ministry in his late 20s. Ali az-Zahir ended his rule before his 31st birthday. Anyway, kids are even worse with power than adults. See, for example, Cambodia.
The French sculptor Jacques Saly was born in 1717. The Swedish Classical composer Joseph Martin Kraus was born in 1756. Here is the St-Petersburg Capella Chamber Orchestra doing the third movement of his Symphony in E-Flat Major:
And another composer, Jacques Offenbach was born in 1819. Here is the Berliner Philharmoniker performing the Barcarole from Les Contes d’Hoffmann, which I’m sure you’ve heard before:
French post-Impressionist Georges Dufrenoy was born in 1870. I really don’t think much of his work, but I guess he was talented enough. The great playwright and the only one who ever really loved Dashiell Hammett, Lillian Hellman was born in 1905. Swashbuckling actor Errol Flynn was born in 1909. And Chet Atkins was born in 1924.
Martin Landau is 85 today, and he looks great. Olympia Dukakis is 82. Director Stephen Frears is 72. The greatest Beach Boy, Brian Wilson is 71. Singer Anne Murray is 68. Lionel Richie is 64. John Goodman is 61. Nicole Kidman is 46. I think she’s beautiful, but I have this feeling Andrea could set me straight and explain how she is, in fact, odd looking. And director Robert Rodriguez is 45.
The day, however, belongs to Jean Moulin, an extremely important figure in the French Resistance. But he is perhaps best known for being ratted out to the Gestapo. He was effectively tortured to death and yet he never betrayed the cause or anyone in it. Before the war, he was an important socialist activist and politician. He was also helpful in providing supplies to the Republicans fighting against the fascists in Spain.
Happy birthday Jean Moulin!