Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Why do we care about famous people's birthdays? They don't care when it's my birthday, right? And they didn't do anything famous by being born. Shouldn't we celebrate the anniversary of the first time they did something famous? Like me, for instance, we could celebrate the anniversary of my blog (11/09/2007), instead of February 27th (my birthday! send presents!) Anyway, it's kinda kooky, but I had fun looking at some famous folks who share my birthday...

Howard Hesseman ('40) - Wow. Dr. Johnny Fever is 70. I'm a big fan of the original "WKRP in Cincinnati", and I didn't know we shared a birthday until compiling this list. I also liked his other show, "Head of the Class", and even remember him on "One Day at a Time", when he played Ann Romano's new husband, Sam, in the last two seasons. I enjoyed the first season of "WKRP" on DVD. I think too much was made over the fact that the music was changed from expensive-to-license rock classics to generic rock. The comedy wasn't in the music! I hope to someday see Seasons 2 & 3 out, but no announcements have been made.

Ralph Nader ('34) - I first saw Ralph Nader on "Phil Donahue", probably sometime in the '80s. He was talking about single payer health care back then, and he may get his wish here before too long. I met him when he spoke at my college and got to ask him about his appearance on "Sesame Street" ('A consumer advocate is a person in your neighborhood'...here's the awkward video) I've always liked Nader as a person, even though we disagree on most things. I liked his 'two party system be damned' approach to running for president, and not going quietly when he was shut out of the debates. I'm still not sure how I feel about third parties being excluded from debates if they're not polling at least 15%. On the one hand you don't want to exclude ideas, but on the other hand you want to hear the candidates who have a chance of winning (though they let McCain debate last time).

Elizabeth Taylor ('32) - Should I be embarrassed that I've never seen an Elizabeth Taylor movie? That I've never seen her act outside of a White Diamonds commercial? By the way, how old is that White Diamonds commercial they run every year around Christmas? I think it was on when I was in high school. It may even be older than the Hershey Kisses/bell ringing ad, or the "12 Days of Xmas/5 roast beef sandwiches" Arby's spot. I think historically she'd prefer to be remembered this way instead of this way (start at the 6:30 mark).

John Steinbeck ('02) - A staple of high school English classes, I recall reading 'Grapes of Wrath' and 'Of Mice and Men'. I can't remember if we read 'The Pearl' or just saw the film. 'Mice' seems to be the most universal, judging from its many film adaptations in English and other languages. My favorite version is the Gary Sinise/John Malkovich one, with Ray Walston as Candy. I also didn't realize until looking for a picture of Steinbeck just how much he resembles Mitch Miller.

David Sarnoff (1891)- As a former broadcaster, it was fun to learn that I share a birthday with broadcasting pioneer David Sarnoff. Sarnoff lived the American dream - a poor Russian immigrant who became his family's means of support at age 15. He worked his way up at the Marconi telegraph company, which would become RCA. By 1930, Sarnoff was president of RCA. Having built a successful radio business with subsidiary NBC, he turned to television technology as the next big thing, with NBC as the first television network. He retired in 1970, having lived the history of broadcasting in America, from the telegraph to The Governor & JJ.

Constantine I (272) - 1700 years before me, this future Roman emperor, Flavius Valerius Constantinus, was born. I don't remember much about this guy and my high school world history notes aren't handy (but yes, Mr. Rudisell, I still have them). So, I must rely on Wikipedia, which tells us that Constantine the Great was the first Christian Roman emperor. That he ruled from 306 to 337 and spread an edict of religious tolerance. He also built a new capital, Constantinople (now Istanbul). Wikipedia goes on to say that Constantine love music, and had a band on the side called Little Connie and the Imperials. He also collected dinosaur bones, had eighteen wives and invented the ladle (or, in Latin, 'spoonus for soupus'.

No comments: