WEEKEND BRIEFING
Set Design

May 7 - One day in the midst of our wedding preparations last summer I had to pick something up at the DMG's mother's house. It was the morning of a cloudless August day. I encountered my sister in the front yard. She was standing in the shade of an apple tree, looking on as my nieces painted watercolors on the grass. She looked around the yard, taking in the rosebushes and vine-covered fence, the gauzy blooms of the white shrubbery, and the gnarled old apple-tree itself, then down at her daughters, and said:

"I feel like I'm in a Merchant-Ivory film."

(Merchant and Ivory are producers known for their signature period flicks like "Howard's End" and "A Room with a View.")

I wasn't entirely sure what she meant until last night.

Our last day of regular classes behind us, my Studieskolen classmates and I had decided to meet for beers and a meal, and to invite significant others along. We decided for a number of foolish reasons to meet in Rosenborg Castle Garden, an awkward location to get to from almost any point in the city.

We were all there more or less on time—nine of us in all, I think, some of whom had even had the sense to bring beer and chips. The weather was beautiful—very warm, very sunny, and with only the gentlest of breezes—and the garden was full of little clusters like our own. Here and there you saw a frisbee being tossed around, or a soccer ball getting kicked about—even a hacky-sack.

It's a large garden, but we had chosen a spot in front of the entrance to Rosenborg Castle. It loomed above us as we sipped our beer and ate our chips and chatted about pointless little things. At one point I looked around to appreciate my surroundings, and I felt like I was in a Merchant-Ivory film.

I had the same feeling later in the evening, as I stepped out of the little Turkish restaurant where we'd had dinner out onto the narrow, cobblestone streets of the middle city.

My life in Denmark isn't any more interesting or exciting than my life has been anywhere else, but the settings are spectacular.

* * *

I've been agitating to make May 9 a national holiday for a number of years but I haven't been getting anywhere. This is partly because I've only been agitating in after-hours bars where my audiences have been less than receptive, but I'm sure it's also the Man trying to keep me down again.

The Man should stop trying to keep me down. Even the Man should appreciate the significance of May 9. On that date in 1960, Congress passed a piece of legislation that revolutionized our culture (if you're willing to grant that we have one). Unlike other important legislation, like Murphy's Law or the Law of Gravity, this was a law you could get excited about. This was a law you could love. This was the legalization of The Pill.

Interestingly, this legislative watershed came almost exactly twenty years after an important commercial innovation: on May 15, 1940, the first nylons went on sale.

1940, nylons. 1960, oral contraceptives. 1940-1960, the baby boom.

Any questions?

* * *

It was on May 7, 1915, by the way, that a German submarine sank the Lusitania, killing 1100. There were no star-crossed young lovers aboard, however, so instead of making a movie about it the U.S. had to enter World War I.

Dagens Ord

The word of the day is vejr (pronounced something like "vayr"), which means weather. I mention this because it's a long weekend in Denmark, so there's been a lot of talk about the weather lately. Based on what I'm seeing this (Friday) morning, it seems that Denmark is no different than the rest of the world: the weather always sucks on long weekends.

Birthdays and Holidays

Erstwhile pornstar Traci Lords turns 36 on May 7. She shares her birthday with the late, great Johnny Unitas (1933), as well as Janis Ian (1950), Eva Peron (1919), Gary Cooper (1901), Gabby Hayes (1885), Peter Tchaikovsky (1840), and Johannes Brahms (1833).

May 8 is the birthday of Melissa Gilbert (1964), Toni Tennille (1943), Don Rickles (1926), and Harry S. Truman (1884). It's Liberation Day in Norway and the Czech and Slovak Republics, and Armistice Day in France.

May 9 is the birthday of Tony Gwynn (1960), Billy Joel (1949), Candice Bergen (1946), James L. Brooks (1940), Albert Finney (1936), Mike Wallace (1918), and Howard Carter (1873). It's Victory Day in Croatia, Russia, and Ukraine, as well as Flag Day in Germany.

Enjoy the weekend.

2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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