Well, my blogging friends, it's happened again. I add another ring to my tree of life today, attaining the esteemed age of 59 - one year short of the big six-oh. I don't mind growing older, actually ... it does beat the eternal alternative, and age is said to bring wisdom and insight. Of course, sometimes age comes alone, but we'll look on the bright side for now. The only real drawback to advancing age (aside from the annoying creaking in the body when one does something challenging...like moving) is the horrifying realization that I am now older than most Air Force Generals and Chief Master Sergeants, and older than both the President of the United States and both the President and the Prime Minister of Russia.
I can't for the life of me understand why they're not calling me for advice.
But I thought that, in celebration of my birthday and my love of history, I'd take a few minutes and look at some of the other interesting things that have happened on November 7th throughout history:
2000 - Al Gore won the popular vote in the US presidential election, but lost the electoral vote to George W. Bush. We all know how that turned out.
1989 - Douglas Wilder was elected governor of Virginia, making him the first black governor of one of the United States...not to mention of the state that was the home of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
1976 - The classic film Gone with the Wind was shown on television for the first time.
1944 - Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented fourth term in office, defeating Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey. The 22nd amendment to the Constitution was adopted, limiting any one individual from serving more than two terms as president.
1874 - The first political cartoon to depict an elephant as the symbol of the Republican Party was published by cartoonist Thomas Nast. The elephant is, of course, a perfect symbol for the GOP: a huge, lumbering animal that trumpets loudly while crushing everything in its path. The use of the jackass as the corresponding symbol of the Democratic Party needs no other comment.
1805 - Explorers Lewis and Clark first sighted the Pacific Ocean after their heroic exploration of the western United States.
All in all, not a bad day to celebrate a birthday, eh?
Looking back to some more immediate history, yesterday I hauled my laptop computer down to my daughter's house to set up a video chat over Skype, so that Agnes could see grandchildren Leya and Elise and show them off to her relatives in Germany while she's visiting there. Here's what I learned:
1. It is impossible to have two children - one three and the other 8 months - on your lap at the same time while attempting to manipulate a computer.
2. A mouse does not work any better if it's banged lustily on the keyboard.
3. A child who laughs hugely and happily at virtually everything will stare blankly into the camera when you really want her to smile.
4. An eight-month-0ld child with a cold really wants to share it with you by sneezing in your face while you are preoccupied with working the computer.
In the end, it all worked out. Agnes and her cousin got to see Leya and Elise, and the computer made it home in one piece. Nevertheless, I think I will not tempt cyber fate again any time soon. I'll wait until the children are older. About 30 ought to do it.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.