On this day in 1835, the great French composer Camille Saint-Saens was born. Over time, I have come to think of myself as a francophile. That’s certainly true of music. As you probably know, I’m not a fan of Romantic period music. But somehow the French do it better. Of course, Saint-Saens was composing over a long period of time and well into the modern period. But the Danse Macabre below was written in 1874 and certainly transcends the style:
It’s a big day for scientists—physicists mostly. Chemist Hermann Emil Fischer was born in 1852. Physicist Mihajlo Pupin was born in 1858. Theoretical physicist Karl Schwarzschild was born in 1873. And the discoverer of x-ray deffraction, physicist Max von Laue was born in 1879.
The most overrated member of the most overrated band, John Lennon was born in 1940. This isn’t to say that he isn’t great or that the Beatles aren’t great. But I don’t idolize either. And I think it allows me to better appreciate the actual work. Here is one of my favorites, Jealous Guy:
Troy Davis was born in 1968. He was convicted of murdering a cop in Georgia. It’s a pretty typical murder case, based mostly on eyewitness testimony. And over time, it all fell apart. But the state continued to push for his murder and in 2011, they got their wish. We don’t have a justice system for the poor. And it is so much worse when you are black as well.
Other birthdays: painter Simeon Solomon (1840); the inventor of the “bendy straw,” Joseph Friedman (1900); the great cinematographer Freddie Young (1902); photographer Joe Rosenthal (1911); “Who” bassist John Entwistle (1944); singer Nona Hendryx (69); musician Jackson Browne is retired from this day on; actor Tony Shalhoub (60); actor Scott Bakula (59); and film director Guillermo del Toro (49).
The day, however, belongs to the cartoonist Mike Peters who is 70. He is the creator of Mother Goose & Grimm. He also does some very good political cartoons. He has an interesting mind, but much more important, he has a great, crazy style. Like this:
Happy birthday Mike Peters!