On this day in 1561, Renaissance composer Jacopo Peri was born. Unlike most composers of that period, his work is still quite listenable. Here is his Tu Dormi, e ‘l Dolce Sonno:
Mathematician Thomas Simpson, inventor of the numerical integral solution the Simpson’s rule (shockingly simple), was born in 1710. Late Baroque composer Bernard de Bury was born in 1720. He wrote for the stage, but most of what you can find recorded these days is for the harpsichord. And the harpsichord is not exactly an expressive instrument. But this is all right, I suppose: Chaccone.
One of the founders of modern chemistry Jons Jacob Berzelius was born in 1779. People’s Poet, Edgar Guest was born in 1881. He was called “people’s poet” because, in all frankness, he’s fun to listen to and read.
We can dig it!
And the great Greek singer-songwriter Nikolas Asimos was born in 1949. Here he is doing “Varethika.” I have no idea what it means, but it is incredibly compelling:
Typical idiotic libertarian Ron Paul is 78. We can all thank God that Robert Plant is 65 and so we will never have to see him again. But here he is at the front of Led Zeppelin dong one of the greatest rock songs ever (mostly because of Jimmy Page):
The great singer-songwriter John Hiatt is 61. It is really hard to pick a single song of his because he’s written so many great ones. But here—Almost at random!—is “Master of Disaster” (although you could check him out with the super group Little Village):
The day, however, belongs to the great writer H. P. Lovecraft who was born on this day in 1890. Although most people have never read him, he is hugely important—certainly as important as Edgar Allan Poe. His fiction is quite well summed up by Wikipedia as being guided by “the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally inimical to the interests of humankind.” Can you see why I admire him? This gets to my big disagreement with my spiritual thinking friends. I like their open-mindedness. But none of them seem to get the fundamental insight: we humans are Very Small Animals who are hopelessly parochial. We cannot understand the universe.
Another reason for my interest in Lovecraft is that he was so critical to the EC Comics that I grew up loving. Regardless, here is a nice short video about who the man was and a rather simplistic notion of why he’s important:
Happy birthday H. P. Lovecraft!