WEEKEND BRIEFING
Week 24 (And So On)

Apr. 23 - Today we begin Week 24. We're 119 days from the estimated due date. The Bean is maniacally active, and I frequently encounter the DMG having quiet conversations with her belly.

The literature remains uninspiring. Those weekly updates that used to be so thrilling—your baby is growing a kidney! your baby is developing fingers! your baby is developing a sense of irony!—are now completely useless. All they do is tell us that our baby has grown a little more over the past week and that she'll continue to grow over the coming weeks. Then they tell us all the horrible things that can go wrong between now and the due date.

I bought my daughter her first dress yesterday.

* * *

I'm in kind of a bind with my Studieskolen (Danish language instruction) classes. On the one hand, they're a rich source of potential material. On the other, sooner or later one of my classmate is bound to stumble across my Internet presence, because we've all exchanged email addresses and I'm the only one with a "custom" domain name. If just one of my classmates were to type that domain into their URL-finder, they'd be here in a flash and my Danish classes would become very difficult.

Not that I have a lot of nasty things to say about this class. It's a good group, mostly—but of course I don't want to write about the nice or the pleasant or the friendly moments. I want to write about the comic and dramatic moments, which often involve protagonists and antagonists other than myself. That means I'd have to describe them, in ways that they might consider unflattering. One of the things the DMG has taught me recently is that people don't always enjoy being written about.

Over the weekend I'll try to figure out some clever way to write about that class without writing about that class.

* * *

April 23 is the birthday of William Shakespeare (no relation), born on that date in 1564. Shakespeare was a playwright and poet whose tragedies have been celebrated for centuries. For example, there’s the Tragedy of Julius Caesar, in which a Roman general thinks he’d like to be emperor, other people disagree, and everyone dies in the end. There is the Tragedy of Macbeth, in which a Scottish Thane thinks he’d like to be king, other people disagree, and everyone dies in the end. There is the Tragedy of Richard II, in which a hunch-banked noble thinks he'd like to be king, other people disagree, and everyone dies in the end. There is even the Tragedy of Hamlet, in which a young prince thinks and everyone dies in the end.

(That last is naturally set in Denmark, where the relationship between thinking and dying has been most famously chronicled by Soren Kierkegaard, who called life itself "the sickness unto death.")

Shakespeare wrote a lot of other plays and died in the end—on April 23, 1616. His accomplishments are all the more remarkable when you consider that he died on the same day he’d been born.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra died the very same day as Shakespeare. Mr. Cervantes was a brilliant Spanish humorist, best known for his novel Don Quixote, in which an old man suffering from acute mental illness rides around the Spanish countryside hallucinating, then dies.

* * *

On April 25, 1876, the Chicago Cubs played their first National League game. Twenty-five years later, New York became the first state to require license plates. Forty-nine years after that, Chuck Cooper became the first black man to play in the NBA. Forty years after that, the Hubble space telescope was put into orbit by the space shuttle Discovery. That was over a decade ago. The Cubs still haven’t won a world series.

Holidays and Birthdays

April 23 is National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey.

The 24th is Genocide Memorial Day in Armenia, National Day in Niger, and Arbor Day in the USA.

April 25 is ANZAC Day in Australia, New Zealand, and Tonga. It's Sinai Liberation Day in Egypt, Flag Day in Denmark's Faroe Islands, Liberation Day in Italy, Revolution Day in Portugal, and Flag Day in Swaziland.

The Bard of Avon shares his April 23 birthday with Valerie Bertinelli (1960), Joyce DeWitt (1949), Sandra Dee (1942), Lee Majors (1940), and Shirley Temple Black (1928).

April 24 is the birthday of Chipper Jones (1972), Doug Clifford (1945), Barbra Streisand (1942), Jill Ireland (1936), and Shirley MacLaine (1934).

April 25 is the birthday of Renee Zellweger (1969), Talia Shire (1946), Bjorn Ulvaeus (1945), Al Pacino (1940), Meadowlark Lemon (1932), Paul Mazursky (1930), Ella Fitzgerald (1918), and Edward R. Murrow (1908)

Enjoy the weekend!

© 2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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