DAILY BRIEFING
Oh, the Humanities

Oct. 27 - It was a dull weekend, so there's not much to blog. It got a little colder and a little darker and we spent most of the weekend getting caught up on little errands. (I could write about the Nude Marathon in Sweden, or the Great Copenhagen Earthquake, but journalistic integrity and sheer laziness compel me to hold off on writing about those events until they actually happen.)

* * *

The New York City subway system opened officially 99 years ago today, which means New Yorkers can look forward to 365 days of riding the "Centennial Subway! 100 Years of Crowded, Smelly Transportation! A Century of Discomfort!"

Actually next year's a leap year, so I guess it'll be 366 days.

Lucky New Yorkers.

* * *

Four-hundred-and-fifty years ago today (on October 27, 1553), Michael Servetus was honored in Switzerland for his discovery of the pulmonary circulation of the blood.

Under the peculiar Swiss honor system of the age, he was awarded a crown of sulfur and set upon a podium of green wood, then lit on fire.

John Calvin is given a good deal of credit for having arranged these honors, which may have had something to do with his own gratitude to Mr. Servetus for having raised an important theological question.

Throughout history, such important theological questions have caused almost as much bloodshed as important theological answers. That doesn't mean theology's an especially bloody field—there's been just as much carnage from philosophy, political science, economics, linguistics, and the rest of the humanities.

It's probably all that blood that puts the "human" in the "humanities."

Of course, if Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston had been around back in the 1550s, maybe they could have saved the day. Ms. Aniston could have diverted Mr. Calvin with her feminine wiles while Mr. Pitt sprang Mr. Servetus out of the joint and rushed him to safety in a souped-up Mustang.

You never know.

* * *

Today is the birthday of John Cleese (1939), Ruby Dee (1924), Roy Lichtenstein (1923), Dylan Thomas (1914), Emily Post (1872), Theodore Roosevelt (1858), and James Cook (1728).

It's Disovery Day in Cuba, Independence Day in Turkmenistan and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Navy Day in the USA. It is or was also Anniversary of Name Change in Zaire, if Zaire is still Zaire, otherwise it's probably Congolese Refutation of Zairean Nomenclature Day. Or something.

Happy Monday.

2003, The Moron's Almanac™

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