The Moron's Daily Briefing

Nov. 11 - It's Veterans Day in the United States and Armistice Day for many of our World War II allies. The Moron's Almanac thanks our veterans for having fought, and in many cases died, to preserve our liberties and apologizes for having made such foolish use of them.

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Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born on November 11, 1821. Mr. Dostoyevsky is universally recognized as one of the pre-eminent authors of nineteenth-century Russia and perhaps one of the finest novelists of all time. On November 10, 1969, public television broadcast the Children's Television Network's first episode of Sesame Street.

Today the Moron's Almanac celebrates both of these cultural icons, who have more in common than you might think.

One of Mr. Dostoyevsky's most enduring characters is that of the angst-ridden student, Raskolnikov, who brutally murders an old woman with an axe in order to confirm his own intellectual freedom. One of the most popular characters on Sesame Street is Big Bird, an eight-foot-tall, easily flustered, flightless yellow bird of indeterminate species.

Mr. Dostoyevsky's novels deal with a broad range of complex issues such as as parricide, political philosophy, epilepsy, freedom of the will, suicide, theosophy, revolution, addiction, dissipation, forgiveness, and the legitimacy of absolutist rule. Sesame Street deals frequently with the alphabet and the numbers one through ten.

Mr. Dostoyevsky was once sentenced to death and blindfolded before a firing squad, then reprieved at the very last moment and exiled to Siberia, where he overcame great obstacles to produce some of his finest work. On Sesame Street, Ernie and Bert often bicker over household chores.

Mr. Dostoyevsky was a devout Russian Orthodox Catholic, and in The Idiot he explores the practical difficulties of living a life according to the principles of love, tolerance, and forgiveness set forth by Jesus Christ. Sesame Street features a grumpy green monster named Oscar, who lives in a garbage can and frequently breaks into song to proclaim his love of trash.

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In 1497, a young man claiming to be the son of Edward IV landed in Cornwall, England, and declared himself King Richard IV. Unfortunately England already a king, the young man wasn't really the son of Edward IV, and his name wasn't Richard. He was in fact Perkin Warbeck, and was therefore hanged to death on November 11, 1499.

Dostoyevsky shares his birthday with Leonardo DiCaprio (1974), Calista Flockhart (1964), Demi Moore (1962), Jonathan Winters (1925), Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922), Alger Hiss (1904), George Patton (1885), and Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV (1050).

Today is Independence Day in Angola and Poland. Besides being Veterans Day in the United States, as mentioned at the top of today's briefing, it's also Armistice Day in Belgium, England, Britain, the British Commonwealth, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France. It's the King's Birthday in Bhutan and Independence of Cartagena Day in Colombia, and Republic Day in Maldives.

2002, The Moron's Almanac™

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