The Next Four Months Have Boring Names

Why is it that four of the months have never been named for anything but a number, while the first eight months of the year are named for someone or something?

January is named for Janus (that two-faced guy); February after februa, a celebration of purification and forgiveness; March for Mars, the god of war. April comes from aperire, Latin for opening, as in the opening of buds in the spring (or possibly from Aphrodite); May is named for Maia, the goddess of plants; June for Juno, the goddess of marriage and well-being.

Then along comes Julius Caesar and he has the gall in 44 B.C.E. to rename Quintilis (for fifth month, as it was then) to Julius (July). Not to be outdone, Augustus renamed Sextilis (for sixth month) to Augustus (August) in 8 B.C.E.

So, why did it stop 2020 years ago? I mean, there are September (seven), October (eight), November (nine) and December (ten) just sitting out there like blank billboards waiting for a clever new name. (And the numbers are no longer even correct!)

Surely, Julius and Augustus can’t be the last two guys in Western culture with enough ego to rename a month after themselves.

Or more fit for our times, commercialize the names of the months; the rights could be purchased like bowl games. It’s not the Orange Bowl anymore, it’s the FedEx Orange Bowl. It’s not November anymore, it’s Toyota November; it’s Bud Light December. Just think, their logo on every calendar.


The 240th Day of the Year Is the Birthday

… of German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, born in Frankfurt on this date in 1749. Goethe said, “One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”

… of Mother Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, the first American-born Saint, born in New York City on this date in 1774.

… of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, born near Tula on this date in 1828.

… of ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson, born in Jamestown, New York, on this date in 1908.

… of Nancy Kulp, Miss Hathaway of The Beverly Hillbillies, was born on August 28th in 1921. She died in 1991.

Eilleen Regina Edwards was born 49 years ago today. We know her better as Shania Twain.


Best Lines Spoken on This Date

And so let freedom ring — from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring — from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring — from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring — from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring — from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that.

Let freedom ring — from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring — from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring — from every hill and molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

“Free at last, free at last.

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
__________

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., 51 years ago today


98th Birthday National Park Service

All photos by NewMexiKen

Fort Laramie

Fort Laramie National Historic Site (Wyoming)

Everglades

Everglades National Park (Florida)

Fort Union

Fort Union National Monument (New Mexico)

Delicate Arch

Arches National Park (Utah)

Shiloh

Shiloh National Military Park (Tennessee)

Yosemite

Yosemite National Park (California)

Rushmore Lincoln

Mount Rushmore National Memorial (South Dakota)

John Muir

John Muir National Historic Site (California)

White Sands

White Sands National Monument (New Mexico)


August 17th

Maureen O’Hara is 94 today. Once voted one of the five most beautiful women in the world, Miss O’Hara is probably best known now as Natalie Wood’s unbelieving mother in the classic Miracle on 34th Street (filmed when O’Hara was 26); or perhaps as Esmeralda to Charles Laughton’s Quasimodo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul is 82.

Robert De Niro is 71 today. De Niro has been nominated for the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar five times, winning for Raging Bull in 1981. He also won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role as the young Vito Corleone in Godfather II. De Niro’s other nominations were for Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Awakenings and Cape Fear, and in 2013 for supporting in Silver Linings Playbook.

Novelist Jonathan Franzen is 55 today. His The Corrections won the 2001 National Book Award.

Sean Penn is 54 today. Penn has been nominated for the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar five times, winning for Mystic River and Milk. Penn’s other nominations were for Dead Man Walking, Sweet and Lowdown and I Am Sam.

Football coach/commentator Jon Gruden is 51.

Davy Crockett — frontiersman, soldier, three-term congressman, restless soul — was born on this date in 1786. As congressman 1827-1831 and 1833-1835, Crockett opposed many of President Andrew Jackson policies, particularly the Indian Removal Act. Crockett published A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett. Written by Himself in 1834. When he lost reelection that year he went to Texas, where he died at the Alamo on March 6, 1836.

After seeing Mae’s jewelry the coat check girl exclaims, “Goodness, what lovely diamonds!” Mae replies, “Goodness had nothing to do with it.” That’s screen legend Mae West in Night After Night. Ms. West was born on this date in 1893.

Francis Gary Powers was born on August 17, 1929. The CIA pilot was shot down over Soviet airspace on May 1, 1960, flying in a U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. It was a major international incident. He was convicted of espionage but released in 1962 in a prisoner exchange. Upon arriving home he was criticized for not activating the plane’s self-destruct mechanism (he said it didn’t work) and not killing himself. He was largely exonerated and was ultimately highly decorated much of it long after his death. Powers died in 1977 when his Los Angles news helicopter crashed.


Cape Hatteras National Seashore (North Carolina)

… was authorized on this date in 1937.

Cape Hatteras

The area now known as Cape Hatteras National Seashore has a long and rich heritage. The islands that make up the seashore have been home to Native Americans, farmers, watermen, slaves, lighthouse keepers, surfmen, and many others who continue to shape the heritage of the area. The people have witnessed events that include hurricanes, the death of Blackbeard the pirate, Civil War battles, the construction of its now famous lighthouses, the birth of the USCG in the lifesaving stations, hundreds of shipwrecks, Billy Mitchell’s test bombings, Reginald Fessenden’s first radio broadcasts, the building of dunes by the CCC, scientific strides in weather forecasting, u-boat attacks, and much more.


Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the nation’s first national seashore, was established to preserve significant segments of unspoiled barrier islands along North Carolina’s stretch of the Atlantic Coast. Barrier islands are narrow, low-lying, dynamic landforms which parallel ocean coasts, are separated from the mainland, and are constantly moving and reshaping in response to storms, ocean currents, sea level changes, and wave and wind action. These processes continue to influence the islands today through the processes of erosion and accretion of the shoreline; overwash across the islands; and the formation, migration, and closure of the inlets.

National Park Service