WEEKEND BRIEFING
Brave New Trimester

Feb. 6 - Today is a major milestone for our little bean. Today we enter the second trimester.

According to The Literature, our bean is now the size of a peach. This is annoying, in that we've been calling it "the bean" ever since we were informed it was the size of a bean several weeks ago and I don't want to get into sliding-scale naming conventions—to go from "the peach" to "the apple," to "the pear," "the orange," "the grapefruit," "the really big grapefruit," "the canteloupe," "the medium honeydew melon," and so on. It would be confusing and it would make me hungry. So the bean remains the bean.

At the stage in its development, our bean is growing teeth, the eyes are moving closer together, and the ears are taking their appropriate place on the side of the head. Its external genitalia have developed to a recognizable point. The DMG's clothes are getting a little snug—her bras are approaching the bursting point.

She's beginning to show. Not so much that strangers would notice, unless she got nude for them, but enough that I can tell. For the first time in my life I'm dealing with a woman who wants me to say, "Yes, honey, you're looking a little fatter."

The cherubim (my two nieces) have chimed in with their own suggestions for names. The six-year-old likes Christopher, Benjamin, and Karl for a boy, or Gabrielle (her own middle name), Jennifer, and Kelly for a girl. The four-year-old pushed the envelope a little more aggressively. For girls, she recommends Rose, Care Bear, Nosespray, and Go Go Girl. For boys, she likes Bumblebee, Handprint, and Legoman.

I wonder what the Danish Naming Authority would have to say about Legoman Handprint Nagan?

* * *

I managed to make it through poker night without too much whiskey, which enabled me to accompany the DMG to the bank to apply for our "security deposit loan" without my smelling like an old distillery.

(I don't seem to play as well without whiskey. Or maybe I don't play well at all but mind it less with whiskey.)

Anyway, I've been fighting off a cold or flu or something for a while and it finally broke out in full force this morning. While the DMG and the bank officer went on and on in Danish about our loan application, I sniffled and sneezed and coughed and tried to look intelligent. I was self conscious about all the sniffling because I thought maybe the loan officer would think I'd been doing coke or something. ("He comes in reeking of whiskey one morning, then three days later he comes in with the Peruvian sniffles!")

It looks like the loan's going to go through, so either she gave me the benefit of the doubt or she needs a connection.

* * *

Today (the 6th) is exactly halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, which is the scientifically correct way of saying it's the middle of fucking winter. Bottoms up: it only gets better from here.

(Except, of course, in the Southern Hemisphere, where it only gets worse, which might have something to do with why it's Waitangi Day down there...)

* * *

What's Waitangi Day, you ask? It's a New Zealand holiday to commemmorate the February 6, 1840 signing of "The Treaty of Waitangi" by representatives of the British Crown and leading Maori chiefs in Waitangi. The treaty preserved many Maori rights while making New Zealand a British Colony.

Given the confused and confusing state of things, the Moron's Almanac recommends that America join her Kiwi friends in celebrating Waitangi Day. There's no particular logic to this, but it's fun to say "Happy Waitangi Day." We could all wear funny hats and buy each other Waitangi presents.

Sound silly?

Just four days ago we were all waiting for a stupid rodent to crawl out of a hole and look for his shadow.

* * *

It was eighty-five years ago today (still the 6th) that the German constituent assembly met in Weimar for the first time to declare itself the Official German Government for the Time Being.

This "Weimar Republic," as it came to be known, should not be confused with the "Weimar Republic" fashion clothing outlet found in many American malls. The former caused an economic depression, Hitler, and the horrors of the second World War. The latter caused a slight dip in sales at Benneton and The Limited.

* * *

The Beatles arrived in the United States forty years ago, on February 7, 1964.

They came from Britain, sometimes known as England, a little island in the North Atlantic from which many people have come to the United States over the years, some of them without guitars.

The British (or English), like so many other Europeans, have a long and storied history. Although it took the French to perfect the guillotine, the English (or British) made up for in zeal what they lacked in technological savvy, and next week is the anniversary of three British (or English) queens having their heads hewn from their shoulders. Specifically:

On February 8, 1587, after nineteen years in prison, Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded.

On February 12, 1554, Lady Jane Grey, queen for nine days in 1553, was beheaded.

On February 13, 1542, Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's Vth wife, was beheaded.

If you can get to an English (or British) pub next week, order a beer without any head and see if they get the joke. Be prudent, however, as people will sometimes react in unexpected ways when asked about giving or withholding any kind of head.

* * *

On February 7, 1898, the trial of Emile Zola began in Paris. He lost but then eventually he won. He had accused someone of something, or vice-versa. Long story. It all began in the backwoods of Illinois... no, that was Lincoln. Never mind.

* * *

On February 8, 1725, Peter the Great died. On February 7, 1990, the Soviet Communist Party gave up its monopoly on power. On February 9, 1991, Lithuanians voted their independence from whatever the hell it was to their east.

* * *

On February 8, 1861, the southern states which had seceded from the United States agreed to reunite in the Confederate States of America. This caused the Civil War (or War of Northern Aggression), a period of unprecedented bloodshed in American history, which surely could have been avoided through a rigorous U.N. regimen of plantation inspections.

* * *

Axl Rose turns 41 on the 6th. Bob Marley would have been 49. Other living and dead celebrants include Francois Truffaut (1932), Rip Torn (1931), Zsa Zsa Gabor (1919), Ronald Reagan (1911), Babe Ruth (1895), and Christopher Marlowe (1564).

Chris Rock turns 37 on February 7, and Garth Brooks turns 41. They share their birthday with Sinclair Lewis (1885), Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867), and Charles Dickens (1812).

February 8 is the birthday of Gary Coleman (1968), Ted Koppel (1940), Nick Nolte (1940), John Williams (1932), James Dean (1931), Jack Lemmon (1925), Audrey Meadows (1924), Lana Turner (1921), Jules Verne (1828), and Willam Tecumseh Sherman (1820).

Besides Waitangi Day, the 6th is also Hristo Botev's Birthday in Bulgaria and Queen's Accession Day in the British Commonwealth.

February 7 is Independence Day in Grenada.

February 8 is Culture Day in Slovenia. Slovenia's cultural contributions to the world include Cipka Lace, Green George, Lipica Horses, Krofi, and Potica.

None of them are beers.

Enjoy the weekend!

2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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