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Saturday, September 26, 2015

On This Day: September 27

Events: tonight a supermoon/harvest moon/lunar eclipse...Anyway, be outdoors between around 9.00 and 10.00 pm and the moon will be up there, big, round and red! If there isn't a cloud cover.

On this day in history: 

1822: Jean-Francois Champollion announces he has translated the Rosetta Stone. Very exciting event for the likes of me. It made a huge difference in the study of ancient Egypt, reading hieroglyphics. Yay!

1905: Albert Einstein's paper on E=mc2(squared) is published. Huge difference both to science and future science fiction!

1968: the musical Hair opens in London, where it keeps playing until 1973, when it's shut down by a collapsing rooftop! I saw that show when I was in high school. I felt a bit naughty because of all the fuss about the nude scene, but when it happened, it was a few seconds and the lights were dim - you couldn't tell the difference between male and female, even!  I remember thinking, "What was all that fuss about?" And in the end, it became a classic show with music we still hum.

1998: This year, Google has claimed this date for its 17th birthday, though it has claimed several other days over the years. Anyway, some time in September. Happy birthday, Google. I've had a lot of use from you - and who would have thought the word would become a verb?


 I could only find one of writerly interest to me, that of John Marsden, author of the Tomorrow series, about "what if Australia was invaded and a bunch of teens were out on a hike at the time?". The heroine, Ellie, told it from her viewpoint. This was long before books like The Hunger Games and such, with their tough, strong heroines. I have to admit that I only read the first four in the series - I felt at the time that it could have ended with Book 3. But the kids didn't, and it was, for some years, a series that was borrowed constantly from my library. These days they mostly gather dust, which is a pity, but every now and then a student discovers them...

His books have sold in the millions and he has written novels that appealed both to boys and girls, not an easy job!  It does help that he's a teacher, but still - not easy. Happy birthday, John! 

There's also Greg Morris, who played Barney, the technician in Mission Impossible, a series I loved in my teens. Not a writer, but something of which I have fond memories. Barney didn't go out and act during the missions; he sat quietly building, fiddling with switches and dials and generally creating the stuff without which the others couldn't have carried out their missions. Mr Morris made a guest appearance in the remade series, in which his son, who played Barney's son, was a regular cast member.   

I must add that I enjoyed the remake too - it was filmed here in Australia, one season in Melbourne, and it was great fun spotting familiar landmarks made up to be other landmarks. The National Gallery of Victoria was the New York Museum of Modern Art. The State Library became the Cairo museum of antiquities. Even our Chinatown, Little Bourke St, was "somewhere in Asia". And the Sovereign Hill gold rush theme park was some American millionaire's private Western town.

Today is World Tourism Day - a pity I haven't done much tourism in recent years.

And it's the feast day of St Vincent De Paul, one of the Church's nicer saints, in whose honour we have the Vinnies, who do a lot of good for people who need it. He had quite an exciting life, possibly more exciting than he would have liked, before he died on this day in 1660, but did a lot of good. 

Check out this public domain portrait of him - isn't that a benign face? 



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