Saturday, May 22, 2010


If ignorance is bliss how come there are so many miserable people running around? That's how the joke goes anyway. Still, I was somewhat more blissful earlier today than I am now, having listened to the news, hearing more about some of our species having poisoned the ocean down 'round the great Gulf of M. And I found a swell little book languishing on the remainder table at the local book barn: Great Stories from HISTORY for EVERY DAY of the Year, compiled by W.B. Marsh & Bruce Carrick. I adore books such as these. Most beloved and tattered: my copy of Bernard Grun's TIMETABLES of HISTORY, a Horizontal Linkage of People & Events. In any event, in opening up the former, I read that today, May 22 marks the anniversary of the births of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859) and Richard Wagner (1813). I love these little bits. Little bits do not equal history; I love them nonetheless. Mary Cassatt was born this day, in Pennsylvania, in 1844. Thinking about the world of that time, that place: now that's history. Harvey Milk of San Francisco would be 80 I guess, had he not been murdered. Again, in any event, in that H. for Every Day, I read that today's the anniversary of this day, a Sunday, in the year 337 that 63-year-old Constantine "the Great" got his ticket punched. Celebrated he was for making Christianity the "favoured religion of Western civilization." Woe was it to the pagan hoi polloi or anyone ol' Connie deemed to be his opposition. Reading on, I found he had a thing about moral conduct. Rapists? Burned alive. Adulterers - even his own son, (later proved innocent) – executed. Servants who helped a young lady elope? Suffice it to say, not wishing to creep you out, that their deaths involved molten lead. Had one of his wives killed, too: horribly. Yikes.
So I'll tip my mental hat to the past, to Mary for her paintings, Arthur for his writings, particularly his invention of Sherlock Holmes; Richard for his music, Harvey for his courage and get on with pondering the present. Outrage is only part of the human story. There's also bliss.

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