Thursday, February 12, 2009

Birthdays, Anniversaries, Sesquicentennials, Bad Songs

Hello everyone!

Today is a day of happy birthdays and happy anniversaries:
  • Happy 200th birthday to Charles Darwin.
  • Happy 200th birthday to Abraham Lincoln.
  • Happy 100th birthday to the NAACP.
That's a pretty impressive list, and the birthdays are nice, neat round numbers. Of course, the numbers are based on Earth making complete revolutions around the sun. That means that if Earth moved slightly slower or faster, we wouldn't be discussing this now. Also, these birthdays are based on multiples of a number system that itself is based on the amount of fingers people have, so if humans had eight fingers instead of ten and we used an octal system instead of a decimal system, we also wouldn't be talking about these two people and this organization today. Sure, a cynic like me might point out how arbitrary these milestones actually are. But that's no fun, so YAY! Happy birthdays!

Also, happy 150th birthday (a couple days early) to Oregon. Saturday will mark Oregon's Sesquicentennial. When I lived in Michigan in 1987, they had this big statewide sesquicentennial celebration that included a stupid commercial in which idiots in shopping malls would try to pronounce the word "sesquicentennial," inevitably screwing it up and sounding like complete morons. What a way to promote your state, eh? "Come to Michigan and socialize with illiterate people at the mall!" I think that would've made a great slogan.

Instead, they went with, "Say Yes to Michigan!" This was also during Nancy Reagan's asinine "Just Say No" program, so as a 12-year-old I was quite confused. My confusion never went away as I got older.

Anyway, the new slogan also led to another round of commercials, this time with images of beautiful Michigan scenery juxtaposed with a horribly corny song apparently sung by the choir from the movie, Sister Act, before the nuns became famous movie stars. Here are the lyrics as I remember them:

Say yes! yes! yes!
To Michigaaaaaaaaan!

Say yes! yes! yes!
Saaaayyyyy yyyeeeeesssss!!

Catchy, eh?

Incidentally, if I keep using the word eh, it's because people from the Upper Peninsula--more commonly known as the U.P. (pronounced Da Yoopee)--were notorious for saying eh. Da Yoopers (as they were often referred to by us lowlanders) were also stereotyped as carrying many of the same dialectical traits as Canadians and Minnesotans, including saying yah or youbetcha instead of yes, and pronouncing the word "about" as aboat. Like any good stereotype, I never once met anyone from the U.P. who actually talked like that during the seven years I lived there. Nevertheless, I usually crack up whenever I see the van in Eugene with the bumper sticker that says, "Say yah to da U.P., eh!", though I'm also usually the only one in my group doing so, and the rest look at me as if I have three nostrils.

But anyway, there are no commercials for Oregon's sesquicentennial, at least not any that I've seen, not that I watch much TV. I guess that also means no cheesy songs to get stuck in my head and still remember 22 years later. Not that I'm complaining.

So happy birthday to Darwin, Lincoln, the NAACP, Oregon and my mom, whose birthday is Sunday. Crap, I better get a card out in the mail.

Oh, and since I'm discussing birthdays and anniversaries, happy ten year anniversary to Bill Clinton's being acquitted by the Senate during his impeachment trial. Ah, the good old days when the President was impeached on a technicality. The lesson to President Obama is firing judges for their politics (or lack thereof), allowing or even ordering torture, eliminating habeus corpus and due process, wiretapping phone lines without a warrant, lying to start a war, using tax dollars to fund religious groups, rolling back environmental regulations, civil rights, and civil liberties, playing guitar and celebrating John McCain's birthday while doing nothing for people dying in a flooded city, absolutely trashing the economy, racking up the biggest governmental debt not only in the history of this country but in the history of any country that has ever existed, and so on is all okay and apparently not worthy of impeachment, or even putting impeachment on the table. But don't lie about having sex during a several year long multimillion dollar witch hunt, or you might join the elite club of Clinton and Andrew Johnson (and Nixon if he hadn't quit first).

Rob

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