Here is your open thread for March 4, 2020.
Evan Dando, somewhat unexpectedly, turns 53 today:
I’m told that “National Grammar Day is observed in the United States on March 4,” but I do not believe this. I have never observed its observation. I’m not even sure what such an observation would entail, but I can’t imagine it’d be good.
Catholic priest turned composer Antonio Vivaldi was born 342 years ago today.
Billionaire soap-seller Richard DeVos was born 94 years ago today. He didn’t really become a billionaire by selling anything as much as by figuring out a legal way to convince millions of other people to pay him for the privilege of selling stuff. Amway’s pioneering model of multi-level marketing differed from the sleazier earlier forms of pyramid schemes because … um, well … because it just did, OK? These were good Reformed Christians from Grand Rapids, after all, and of course people like that would never be involved in anything that would ruinously exploit their own employees.
DeVos, who died in 1918, dedicated his life to the traditional billionaire pursuits of owning professional sports teams and funding far-right anti-governance PR firms like the Heritage Foundation and Newt Gingrich. DeVos is also remembered for his extensive philanthropy in the white evangelical world. The millions of dollars he contributed to Christian colleges and universities is one reason why, even today, professors at those college and universities have to be very, very careful about what they say, write, question, or think.
Today is Gloria Gaither’s 78th birthday. In honor of this godmother of Southern Gospel and of the hundreds of songs she’s written and performed with her husband Bill, I will be timing my wash-your-hands-for-at-least-20-seconds precautions today by singing the chorus of “Because He Lives.”
Red Stripe of the Flying Pickets turns 74 today. The Flying Pickets were a group of out of work actors who formed a radical socialist a capella band. Their cover of Yazoo’s “Only You” became Margaret Thatcher’s favorite pop song and an unlikely No. 1 hit in the UK. The ’80s, man, the ’80s were a strange time.
Novelist James Ellroy turns 72 today. Before I actually read either of them, I used to get him confused with Elmore Leonard. I think Ellroy sometimes gets confused about that, too, since he once told the New York Times that “I am the greatest crime novelist who ever lived.”
Rick Perry, who finished 12th on season 23 of Dancing With the Stars, turns 70 today. Actor Mykelti Williamson turns 63. Steven Weber turns 59. Actor and rock-and-roll widow Patsy Kensit turns 52. Whip-smart journalist Emily Bazelon turns 49.
Today is the feast day of St. Casimir, who died on March 4, 1484. St. Casimir’s Day is a big deal in Poland and Lithuania, but here in America it’s mostly noted as the birthday of his namesake, Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski.
Talk amongst yourselves.