Sunday, July 21, 2013

More Than Six Birthday Lists

Steve and I on my tenth birthday (VAL photo)

Dear George,
Because it’s my birthday, the moment I woke up I was overwhelmed by an urge to get organized.  The first step, of course, is to create lists of important things.  So far I’ve concentrated on lists which are pertinent to birthdays.  I hope they are as helpful to others as they are to me.  

A list of amazing birthday facts

"Happy Birthday", which is the most popular song in the English language, was written in 1893 by Louisville teachers Mildred and Patty Hill.  They adapted it from a song they’d written for kindergarteners called "Good Morning to You."  You rarely hear "Happy Birthday" sung on TV because it's copyrighted and subject to licensing fees (earning about $2 million a year).

The earliest birthday parties in Europe were gatherings held to protect loved ones from evil spirits who were believed to seek out people on their birthdays.

World record for number of birthdays: Jeanne Calment of Arles, France (1875-1997) had 122 birthdays, having died at age 122 years and 164 days.

The least frequent date for birthdays in the U.S.:  December 25.  (Hmm, is that a coincidence?) 

Mathematicians have demonstrated that, if there are 23 people in a room, there's a 50/50 chance that two of them will share the same birthday.  (If 60 people are in the room, the odds go up to 99%.)

Origen (185-254 A.D.), an early Christian theologian, wrote that Christians should not only refrain from celebrating their birthdays, but should view them with disgust. 

North Koreans don't celebrate birthdays on July 8 and Dec. 17 because these were the dates of the deaths of President Kim Il-sung and his son, Supreme Leader Kim Jon-il.  Over 100,000 North Koreans celebrate their birthdays on July 9 or Dec. 18 to avoid these dates. 

In 1996 the Sultan of Brunei spent $27.2 million on the world's most expensive birthday party in order to celebrate his 50th.  Michael Jackson did three concerts at the festivities. 

In the U.S. more people are born on Oct. 5 than any other day.  (Oct. 5 is exactly nine months after New Year's Eve.)

A list of birthdays in my immediate family

Jan. 12             Ami G (sister-in-law; b. 1943, Philadelphia, PA)
Feb. 2              David W (brother-in-law; b. 1944, Philadelphia, PA)
Feb. 24            Vicki L (sister; b. 1947, Menominee, MI) 
Feb. 25            Doris L (mother; b. 1910, Omaha, NB)
Feb. 27            Steven L (brother; b. 1941, Menominee, MI)
Mar. 27            George L (brother-in-law; b. 1944, Cambridge, MA)
Apr. 18            Gayle C L (sister-in-law; b. 1958, Hopelawn, NJ)
May 1              Bruce G (brother-in-law; b. 1939, Bronx, NY) 
June 9              Peter L (brother; b. 1945, Menominee, MI)
June 30            Margie L (sister-in-law; b. 1942, Richmond, VA)
July 21              David L (myself; b. 1937, Menominee, MI)
Sept. 15            KKB (daughter-in-law; b. 1968, Alpena, MI)
Sept. 16            VDL (granddaughter; b. 2008, Thibodeaux, LA)
Sept. 19            JML (son; b. 1969, Cincinnati, OH)
Sept. 30            LSL (grandson; b. 2008, Taiyun, China)
Nov. 22            Faith W L (sister-in-law; b. 1946, Onchiota, NY)
Dec. 9               Katja L (wife; b. 1937, Roanoke, VA)

A list of my favorite birthday quotes
Birthdays are nature's way of telling us to eat more cake.  (Unknown)
Inside every older person is a younger person - wondering what the hell happened.  (Cora Harvey Armstrong)
Looking fifty is great -- if you're sixty.  (Joan Rivers)
If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself.  (Unknown)
Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternative.  (Maurice Chevalier)
Age is not important unless you're a cheese.  (Helen Hayes)
Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.  (William Shakespeare)

A list of famous people born in July 1937
7-3-37               Tom Stoppard, Writer
7-5-37               Brooke Hayward, TV and movie actress
7-6-37               Ned Beatty, Movie actor
7-6-37               Gene Chandler, R&B/soul singer
7-12-37             Bill Cosby, Comedian/TV actor
7-18-37              Hunter S Thompson, Author-journalist
7-19-37              George Hamilton IV, Country singer
7-29-37              Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH)
7-31-37              Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY)

A list of some significant birthdays in my life so far:
1946 (age 9): My dad had come back from the war and my friends (e.g., Skipper B., Frankie S., Bill C.) came to the first of my childhood birthday parties at our new house on the Menominee River. 
1953 (age 16): I got my driver’s license, inaugurating a nightly ritual of cruising the loop in the Twin Cities
1955 (age 18): A new high school graduate soon to enter Antioch College, I skipped having a party but was enjoying my final summer living at home.
1960 (age 23):  My birthday was a month after graduating from college and a month before getting married and starting grad school in social psychology at the University of Michigan.
1970 (age 33):  Our infant son J was approaching his own first birthday. 
1977 (age 40): Katja arranged a birthday party for me with 4 or 5 of her beautiful female friends (e.g., Renee, Monique, Ellin).
1979 (age 42): Our son J entered his first city-wide tournament in early summer, launching his junior tennis career (and our transformation into maniacal tennis parents).
1992 (age 65): Katja arranged for the two of us to go up in a hot air balloon on my birthday.
2006 (age 69): My younger brother Peter tragically died of a heart attack on my birthday while he was vacationing with Gayle in the Hamptons on Long Island.
2008 (age 71):  Katja and I were on the verge of becoming new grandparents.
2009 (age 72): My first birthday as a retired person (and my first birthday blog entry).  Seemed o.k. 
2013 (age 76): According to some gerontologists, my birthday today marks my transition from being “young old” (65-75) to being “middle old” (76-85).  So far, not that different.  Being “old old” (86+) remains in the distant future.   

A list of the dumbest birthday jokes ever

What did the birthday balloon say to the pin?
"Hi, Buster."

Were any famous men or women born on your birthday?
“No, only little babies.”

What does a cat like to eat on her birthday?
“Mice cream and cake.” 

What did one candle say to the other?
"Don't birthdays burn you up?"

What does a clam do on his birthday?
“He shellabrates!”

What did the bald man say when he got a comb for his birthday?
“Thanks, I’ll never part with it.” 

Why did the birthday cake go to the doctor?
“Because it was feeling crumby.” 

A list of some of my birthday wishes
I wish health, well-being, and happiness for all our family and friends.
I wish our sheepdogs’ arthritis continues to be tolerable and that they get heaps of love.
I wish that our grandchildren have an exciting kindergarten year and that we see them more than ever.
I wish that we’d get together with my sister Vicki, here or in Santa Cruz.
I wish that a new grocery store opens in our neighborhood (after a two-year wait).
I wish Homeland would start a new season on TV
I wish I could have a story published on the back page of the New York Times Magazine section.
I wish somebody would go with me on a camping road trip to Michigan.
I wish my line dancing class would appear on Channel 12 news.
I wish Roger Federer would win another Grand Slam tournament.
I wish the Tree Service helps the giant yew tree in the front yard with its dead branches makes a comeback.
I wish the Dr. would clean the wax out of my ears so I hear better.
I wish that we all get our wishes to come true.    

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