The Moron's Weekend Briefing

Mar. 21 - The 75th Annual Academy Awards are scheduled for this Sunday evening, March 23, at 8:30 pm Eastern. Persons who give a damn are urged to pursue other almanacs.

And yet, to my chagrin, show business figures prominently in this weekend briefing.

Two leading lights of twentieth century musical theatre were born on March 22: Stephen Sondheim (1930), best known for his work on Gypsy, West Side Story, Company, and Into the Woods, and Andrew Lloyd Weber (1948), best known for Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, and Phantom of the Opera.

By some mysterious natural process of compensation, March 22 is also the birthday of Marcel Marceau (1923), best known for Man Trapped in an Invisible Box.

Auguste and Louis Lumiere first demonstrated motion pictures in Paris using celluloid film on March 22, 1895. Unless it was March 19, 1895, or December 28, 1894, or cellulite instead of celluloid. And it may have been in Milan, or Warsaw, and it's possible it wasn't Louis and Auguste Lumiere, but Tanya and Sophie Belcher. It depends who you ask. It wasn't much of a movie anyway--just footage of workers leaving the Lumiere Factory at the end of their shift--so the ambiguity surrounding its debut shouldn't be so surprising.

On March 23, 1534, Pope Clement declared the marriage between Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon was still valid, even though they'd been divorced the previous year and Henry had already married Anne Boleyn. This left Henry no choice but to invent his own religion and appoint a more agreeable pope. It's interesting to reflect how richly improved the spiritual condition of our own age might be if our leaders were still required to invent religions every time they wanted a little nookie--the Clinton Administration alone would have been a theological tsunami.

On March 23, 1919, Benito Mussolini founded his own party in Italy. He had tried all the other parties, but he was an awkward young man and had a hard time getting to know people. His Fasci di Combattimento ("Evil Fascist Bastards Party") was extremely popular, however, and even the cool kids came. It was so popular that it quickly got out of hand and the neighbors started complaining. That ended up starting a big fight, and the rest is history.

On March 23, 1985, Billy Joel married supermodel Christie Brinkley in New York. It was unbelievable. It was so exciting. Here was this rich but kind of funny-looking musician marrying this beautiful, wealthy model. No one had ever seen anything like it before. It changed everything.

On March 23, 1925, Tennessee banned the teaching of evolution in schools. Teacher John Scopes couldn't think of anywhere else to teach evolution, so he ignored the ban and was later prosecuted in what became known as the "Scopes Monkey Trial," which resulted in an Oscar for Spencer Tracy (no relation).

Matthew Broderick (1962) and Rosie O'Donnell turn 41on March 21. They celebrate with Gary Oldman (1958), Timothy Dalton (1944), Modest Mussorgsky (1839), and J.S. Bach (1685).

March 22 is the birthday of Reese Witherspoon (1976), Matthew Modine (1959), Bob Costas (1952), William Shatner (1931), Karl Malden (1913), Chico Marx (1887), and the aforementioned Sondheim, Webber, and Marceau.

March 23 is the birthday of Keri Russell (1976), Chaka Khan (1953), Roger Bannister (1929), Wernher Von Braun (1912), Akira Kurosawa (1910), and Joan Crawford (1908).

March 21 is Nauroz Bayram in the Azerbaijan Republic, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikstan, and Turkmenistan. It's also Independence Day in Namibia and Human Rights Day in South Africa. March 22 is Nevruz Day in Albania and the 23rd is Pakistan Day in Pakistan.

Enjoy the weekend.

2002, The Moron's Almanac™

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