Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Day of Remembrances

Today’s the anniversary of the perfection of the carbonized cotton filament incandescent light bulb by Thomas Alva Edison in 1879. His light bulb lasted for 13-1/2 hours of continuous running time.

There’s no record of when a father first shouted in frustration to his children, “Shut the lights out when you’re not in the room. Do you think I’m made of money?” Mothers were more sarcastic in their reprimands, demanding to know if the children thought the family had a money tree growing in the garden.

At least that’s the way it was growing up in my household.

Ordinarily, I’d look with slight interest at an article in today’s NY Times about efforts by the Guggenheim Museum to build a permanent food kiosk outside its entrance on Fifth Avenue and E. 89th St. The request, incidentally, was rejected by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (

By serendipitous coincidence I discovered before I perused The Times this morning that today is the anniversary of the opening of the Guggenheim at its current location. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the museum opened in 1959.

Today’s another anniversary, at least according to the Gregorian calendar. On this day in 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the New World. He landed on San Salvador Island. We, of course, celebrate October 12 as Columbus Day because the Admiral, as he later came to be called, sailed under the Julian calendar. Ninety years later, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII promulgated his version of the daily grind, eventually adopted by most cultures, even ones not disposed to Catholic doctrine.

I mentioned yesterday our son Dan will be competing in the North American ultimate frisbee championship tournament next week. His team is Boston Ironside. Turns out today marks the anniversary of the 1797 launching of the USS Constitution in Boston harbor. The frigate earned the nickname Old Ironsides during the War of 1812. A good omen, I hope.

My sister advises I write too much about sports, especially baseball. Perhaps. If she was annoyed by yesterday’s homage to Bob Sheppard and Mickey Mantle, she probably won’t like to know that today is the 82nd birthday of Whitey Ford, one of the all-time great Yankee pitchers.

Today also is Gilda’s sister’s birthday. I won’t tell you how old Barbara is.