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Thursday, November 22, 2018

I was born on November 22, 1948; a few ruminations on growing old, plus the Thanksgiving birthday pattern

For those of us born between the 22nd and 28th and have always wondered, here's how it works: the Thanksgiving Birthday Pattern.

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.

~ H. L. Mencken

I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly find - at the age of fifty, say - that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about...It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you.

~ Agatha Christie

All would live long, but none would be old.

~ Benjamin Franklin

The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children.

~ Clarence Darrow

Every old man complains of the growing depravity of the world, of the petulance and insolence of the rising generation.

~ Dr. Johnson

Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity.

~ Thomas Jefferson

How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young -- or slender.

~ William James

For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away,
The sky is filled with stars invisible by day.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus

It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded.

~ W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

When I was young I was amazed at Plutarch's statement that the elder Cato began at the age of eighty to learn Greek. I am amazed no longer. Old age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long.

~ W. Somerset Maugham

Optima quaeque dies miseris mortalibus aevi prima fugit: subeunt morbi tristique senectus et labor, et durae rapit inclementia mortis.

~ Virgil
Of the measure of days allowed to piteous mortals, the best days are first to leave: illness and sorry old age loom up, suffering and death's untender mercies take all away.
Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age. 

~ Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

When the loud day for men who sow and reap
Grows still and on the silence of the town
The unsubstantial veils of night and sleep,
The meed of day's labour, settle down,
Then for me in the stillness of the night
The wasting, watchful hours drag on their course,
And in the idle darkness comes the bite
Of all the burning serpents of remorse;
Dreams seethe; and fretful infelicities
Are swarming in my over-burdened soul,
And Memory before my wakeful eyes
With noiseless hand unwinds her lengthy scroll.
Then, as with loathing I peruse the years,
I tremble, and I curse my natal day,
Wail bitterly, and bitterly shed tears,
But cannot wash the woeful script away.

~ Alexander Pushkin, Remembrance

The spiritual eyesight improves as the physical eyesight declines.

~ Plato

So Life's year begins and closes;
Days, though short'ning, still can shine;
What though youth gave love and roses,
Age still leaves us friends and wine.

~ Thomas Moore, Spring and Autumn

Though now this grained face of mine be hid
In sap-consuming winter's drizzled snow,
And all the conduits of my blood froze up,
Yet hath my night of life some memory,
My wasting lamps some fading glimmer left,
My dull deaf ears a little use to hear.

~ William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Thanksgiving miscellany: Mark Twain, science, WKRP, Cicero, the best turkey fryer PSA ever, more

I've accumulated a LOT of Thanksgiving-related links over the years, so I've divided them up - here's the first set.

I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.


Cartoon (The Oatmeal): Thanksgiving as a kid VS Thanksgiving as an adult.

Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for - annually, not oftener - if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months, instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and to extend the usual annual compliments.

~ Mark Twain Autobiography

WKRP Turkey Drop episode: "As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly"



Gratius animus est una virtus non solum maxima, sed etiam mater virtutum omnium reliquaram.

~ Marcus Tullius CiceroOratio pro Cnaeo Plancio, 23
A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the mother of all other virtues.
The excellent William Shatner fried turkey PSA:


Turkey fryer alert: 86 year old man deep fries own leg. Or as he calls it, his drumstick.

If you're actually going to fry a turkey, you might consider Alton Brown's advice on how to construct a derrick over your turkey fryer.





Pi vs Pie.

The voices of Christopher Walken and John Madden: The First Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Round-up of Thanksgiving links

A Thanksgiving miscellany: Mark Twain, science, WKRP, Cicero and the best turkey fryer PSA ever.

10 Thanksgiving Words With Bizarre Origins.


A bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a pig: the TurBacon Epic.


This Man Made the First Canned Cranberry Sauce.




For those of us born between the 22nd and 28th and have always wondered, here's how it works: the Thanksgiving Birthday Pattern.



Dave Barry Thanksgiving columns from 199619982004... feel free to add more in the comments.

Buffy Thanksgiving episode: "Ritual sacrifice, with pie."

Monday links

The Gettysburg Address was seven score and fifteen years ago: here's some history and a brief video with contemporaneous photos and illustrations. Related: Pennsylvania newspaper prints retraction (written in the style of the Gettysburg Address) for 1863 article calling Gettysburg address "silly remarks".

Napoleonic refugees in America.

I'd forgotten all about the USFL: Donald Trump’s Misadventures in Professional Football.

President James Garfield's birthday - when he was shot, Alexander Graham Bell showed up with a metal detector to try to locate the bullet. 

Three Centuries After His Beheading, a Kinder, Gentler Blackbeard Emerges.

There's still time to gather all of the ingredients: The traditional drunken turkey recipe.

ICYMI, most recent links are here, and include Veterans Day links, why pencils are yellow, hair washing advice from the 12th and 17th centuries, and football physics.