Composer Richard Leveridge was born on this day in 1670. Founder of the gun company, Samuel Colt was born in 1814. He was a deeply moral man—moral in the sense that he didn’t believe in anything but a buck. He sold guns to both the North and South in the lead up to the Civil War. But he died young of gout. I assume it was painful. Another person with significantly less blood on her hands, Lizzie Borden was born in 1860. The great Chinese painter, Xu Beihong was born in 1905. I don’t know how to classify his work, but it is really good. George McGovern was born in 1922. Although a politician, he was a decent human being who deserves to be remembered. And Richard Jordan was born in 1938. I don’t think he was a great actor, I just liked him up on the screen.
What is wrong with today? Could I find no one alive today who was interesting to me? Well, to give you some idea, Jonathan Bernstein, who always wishes a birthday, put up Rick Ankiel. For those who do not know (I didn’t!) he’s a baseball player. So no. I really couldn’t find anyone interesting. So there.
The day, however, belongs to a very interesting man. The great impressionist painter Edgar Degas was born on this day in 1834. The main thing that people notice about Degas is that of the impressionists, he is technically better than all of them, other than (perhaps) Gustave Caillebotte. He was also quite a fine sculptor. But the truth is that I don’t know why I love his work. He clearly had a good eye and a sense of the loneliness that is life. Also: he loved dancers. According to Wikipedia, over half of all of his works depict dancers. But what I most admire are things like The Absinthe Drinker:
Happy birthday Edgar Degas!