WEEKEND BRIEFING
A Question of Degree

May 23 - The Moron Game is nearing readiness for beta testing and will be posted sometime in the next few days for testing by betas.

Until then, I'm trying to come to terms with my dangerous proximity to Norway. Who knew?

Actually, I don't think it's that surprising. Norway's the wealthiest nation in the world, per capita, and has the largest oil reserves in Europe. They also dole out the Nobel prize. From what we know of al-Qaeda, any western country whose reputation is founded on wealth, oil, and handing out peace prizes might as well paint a bullseye on its ass.

It's also worth noting that Norway is the only NATO country with a defense minister who looks good in a miniskirt.

* * *

Friedrich Anton Mesmer was born on May 23, 1734. Mr. Mesmer was a physician and hypnotist who developed a peculiar method of therapy-by-suggestion that bears his name to this day: Antonism. (Antonism should not be confused with antonyms, an antonym for synonyms. Synonyms should not be confused with cinnamon, which is used on hot buns. It will spare embarrassment at the breakfast table if hot buns are not confused with hot buns.)

200 years later, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were riddled with bullets in a police ambush.

Gabriel Fahrenheit was born on May 24, 1686. Mr Fahrenheit did pioneering work in the field of temperature. It was his dream to develop a more sophisticated temperature measurement system than the accepted worldwide standard of his era, which consisted of only seven gradations: icy, cold, chilly, warm, hot, steamy, and ow. Hard at work on the same problem was his colleague Gustav Celsius. Mr Fahrenheit eventually discovered the "degree." It took 32 of Mr Fahrenheit's degrees to freeze water and 212 of them to boil it. Mr Celsius, meanwhile, had discovered a different kind of "degree." It took only a hundred of his degrees to bring water to a boil, and, even more impressively, he discovered that water would freeze without any of his degrees at all.

By requiring fewer degrees to get things done, and less tick marks on thermometers, Mr Celsius's system was more compact and economical than Mr Fahrenheit's. This made it a natural for the crowded lands of Europe, where storage came at a premium. In the great unsettled expanse of the New World, however, space was not an issue and Mr Fahrenheit's system took hold.

If you haven't already downloaded it, my own Calcumalator (available on the index page of this site) makes conversions between these systems a breeze.

On May 24, 1819, Queen Victoria was born as Princess Alexandria Victoria at Kensington Palace, London. She reigned for sixty-four years, and lent her name to an era best remembered for its prudery and chastity. The chastity of the era was probably the result of so many citizens having to stay home and care for their children, since Victoria's reign saw the largest population explosion in British history.

On May 24, 1844, Samuel Morse sent the world's first telegraph message to his associate. The message was "What hath God wrought?" Mr. Morse's associate didn't know, and did not advance to the next round, although he did receive a year's supply of Turtle Wax.

On May 25, 1925, John Scopes was indicted for teaching evolution in school. Evolution was a theory put forth by Charles Darwin, whose boat was named "the Beagle." People objected to this theory, which put forth the proposition that mankind had evolved from life forms with hairy red asses. This resulted in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, in which Spencer Tracy gave a long monologue that changed everyone's minds even though it was so darn hot in the courtroom.

It is now commonly accepted as fact that mankind evolved from life forms with hairy red asses, a proposition that anyone who's been to the beach lately shouldn't find too hard to accept.

Celebrating May 23 along with old Mesmer are Drew Carey (1958), Marvin Hagler (1952), Rosemary Clooney (1928), Scatman Crothers (1910), and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (1883).

Birthdays on May 24 include Gary Burghoff (1943), Bob Dylan (1941), and Jean Paul Marat (1743), in addition to the eminent personages named above.

Anne Heche turns 34 on May 25, and shares her birthday with Frank Oz (1944), Miles Davis (1926), Claude Akins (1918), and Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803).

May 23 is Constitution Day in Germany, Labor Day in Jamaica, and Constitutional Ammendment Day in Morocco.

May 24 is Victoria Day in Canada, Bermuda Day in Bermuda, Culture Day in Bulgaria, Independence Day in Eritrea, and Commonwealth Day in Trinidad & Tobago.

May 25 is Africa Day in Africa, Revolution Day in Argentina, and Independence Day in Jordan.

Enjoy the weekend. (And if you're in the states, enjoy the long weekend.)

2002, The Moron's Almanac™

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