Loose Canons


Among the topics I intended to write about during my November writing practice was November birthdays.  My paternal grandmother was born in November and always said it was the worst month ever to have a birthday in.  In fact, she never celebrated her birthday because she so disliked it’s date.  One of her comments was that people were always mistaking her actual birthday of November 15, for a non-actual of November 13.  I remember he saying late in her life that November 15 was bad enough, but November 13 had both the unlucky month of November and the unlucky number 13.

So I decided to look at a number of historical November 13 birthdays and see if I could find commonalities or similarities between them.  Connections other than the date of their birthdays.  I thought I failed miserably at that.  Several of these have some very dark sides in their otherwise stellar histories, but nothing that could be deemed a commonality.  So I tried to play a stream of consciousness work association and that is what I am sharing with you today.

So –

Happy 199th Birthday to you, Joseph Hooker, Union General:

(1) Born in Hadley, MA.  Asparagus Valley.  Green shoots.

(2) Defeated at Chancellorsville, VA. By Robert E. Lee.  Not well taught.  In lieu of the Confederates.  False currency.   Loose cannon.

Happy 163rd Birthday to you, Robert Louis Stevenson, Writer;

(1) Born Scotland, died Samoa.  Searched for safety from his scrofula.  (What?)

Tuberosis tuberculosis.  Curing cottages.  Cold.  I read Treasure Island.  Nothing else.

(2) From law to letters.  Learning a Treasure.  Islands in the Lake.  Of Saranac.

(3)  Musings:

Say not of me that weakly I declined

The labours of my sires, and fled the sea,

The towers we founded and the lamps we lit,

But rather say: In the afternoon of time

A strenuous family dusted from its hands

The sand of granite, and beholding far

Along the sounding coast its pyramids

And tall memorials catch the dying sun,

Smiled well content, and to this childish task

Around the fire addressed its evening hours.

Happy 79th Birthday to you, Garry Marshall, Movie Director:

Well, I never heard of this guy before I turned up his birthday being today.  He makes me wish I’d done birthdays yesterday, when Neil Young turned 80 (or at least appeared to).  Anyway Garry directed a whole bunch of movies, none of which I’ve seen.

(1)  Brother of Penny Marshall.  Penny Page.  Good friend.  Good sitter.  Good director.  Thought she directed Thelma and Louise.  NOT.  Laverne and Shirley.  I really like Penny.

(2)  Ridley Scott. Directed a bunch of movies, including Thelma and Louise, and Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator (that I’ve seen).  I really like Ridley.

 Happy 58th or 64th Birthday to you, Whoopi Goldberg, Comedienne,  Actress:

Born Caryn Elaine Johnson; November 13, 1949.  Check out Wikipedia for this interesting counterpoint of birthdays.  When Whoopi first appeared on the scene with comedy, I at once thought:  “OH!  That’s (what’s-her-name-I-can-no-longer-remember) whom I went to college with!”  When I Iooked her up and saw 1955, she couldn’t have been in college with me, but if she was born in 1949, she could have been.  Isn’t that special?

(1)  Purple.  Royal.  Rare.  Beautiful.  Talented.  Poignant.  Alice.

(2)  Funny.  Ha, ha, ha.  Life lived.

(3)  Star Trek, Next Generation.  My generation.  Guynan.  Empath. Wish I knew more about Whoopi.

 Happy 50th Birthday to you, Vinne Testeverde, Football player

(1)  First overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft.  Heisman winner.  Quarterback (for too many teams).  Achilles heel.

(2) Led the Jets to the 1998 AFC East title on to lose the Conference championship game to the Denver Broncos.  No win situation.  Boring QB.

 Happy 46th Birthday to you,  Jimmy Kimmel, TV Show host:

Another birthday boy I really don’t know anything about.  Couple times I’ve seen him, I didn’t think he was funny.  But I found more than one incident like this about him.

 From Wikipedia bio:  “During an incident during the 2004 NBA Finals in Detroit, Kimmel appeared on ABC’s halftime show to make an on-air plug for his show. He suggested that if the Detroit Pistons defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, “they’re gonna burn the city of Detroit down … and it’s not worth it.” Officials with Detroit’s ABC affiliate, WXYZ-TV, immediately announced that that night’s show would not air on the station. Hours later, ABC officials pulled that night’s show from the entire network. Kimmel later apologized.”

(1)  Loose cannon. !

 And herein I find my connection the first birthday on the list.  Both loose cannons.  In fact almost all of this list are loose cannons (or canons) in one way or other.  I wonder if that is connected with their all being Scorpios?



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