Here is your open thread for April 5, 2020.
Happy 66th birthday to Peter Case.
On April 5, 1566, a bunch of nobility in The Netherlands presented a petition to Philip II of Spain (well, to his sister) urging him to ease up with the whole Spanish Inquisition and laws against what he considered heresy. The war that followed this so-called “Compromise of Nobles” (the king wasn’t interested in compromising with anybody) led to the Eighty Years War and thus, ultimately, the independence of The Netherlands. Was this a “religious war” or a political one? Yes.
The Rapa Nui people of Easter Island first discovered Europeans on April 5, 1722, when the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen arrived there some 500 years after they settled the place.
On April 5, 10 years ago, the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster killed 29 coal miners in West Virginia. Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was found guilty of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards and spent a year in prison. Blankenship announced last fall that he is running for president in 2020 with the far-right bonkers Constitution Party.
On April 5, 43 years from today, Zefram Cochrane’s warp-speed flight will lead to humans first contact with extraterrestrial life. That’s what Star Trek tells us, anyway. We’ll find out if that’s likely four years from now when we see whether or not the Bell Riots have broken out.
Thomas Hobbes was born 432 years ago today. People are better than he thought we were.
Joseph Lister was born 193 years ago today. I will second his recommendation: Wash your hands.
Rep. Robert Smalls (R-SC), was born 181 years ago today. Smalls was enslaved from birth until, at the age of 23, he freed himself (and 15 others) by commandeering a Confederate steamship, sneaking it past the slavers’ guns, and turning it over to the American Navy. Smalls later served as captain of that same ship, now sailing for the US military, until the end of the war. There’s no good reason we haven’t already had several movie versions of this story.Booker T. Washington was born 164 years ago today. Erik Loomis visited his American grave a few months ago.
Spencer Tracy (1900), Bette Davis (1908), and Gregory Peck (1916) were all born on April 5.
Low-budget auteur Roger Corman turns 94 today. Peter Greenaway turns 78. I’ve urged several friends to watch Drowning by Numbers, not so much because I enjoyed it as because I wanted to talk with them about it to help me maybe figure out whether or not I enjoyed it.
Agnetha Fältskog turns 70 today. (She’s one of the A’s in “ABBA.” I never chose to like ABBA’s songs, but the thing about ABBA’s songs is it turns out you wind up liking them whether you like it or not.)
Pharrell Williams turns 47 today. Sterling K. Brown turns 44. Hayley Atwell turns 38.
April 5 is the feast day of St. Derfel who was, um, a knight of the Round Table who fought alongside King Arthur against Mordred. I’m not challenging Derfel’s status as a legitimate Christian saint, I’m just asking why Merlin wasn’t also canonized.
Talk amongst yourselves.