Today in History: March 24

Forty-five years ago today, the little boy on the right met the little girl on the left. He was a big brother all of a sudden, or so it seemed. He hated it at first, but then he came to love being a big brother and to love his sister even more than that.

(Truth be told, she often seems to be the more mature sibling—even in the photo above—and she often seems to know what to do sooner and better about most of life’s many things than her big brother does, but this is mainly because big brother kept finding himself distracted by odd byways and paths through life, and he did his best to make them look unattractive for her, so she would not follow. That is what he tells himself, anyway.)

Happy birthday, Michelle! I love you.

* * * *
Lawrence Ferlinghetti is 97 today. He is still writing, creating art, and giving cantankerous interviews. His poem, “Dog” (below the fold):

The dog trots freely in the street
and sees reality
and the things he sees
are bigger than himself
and the things he sees
are his reality
Drunks in doorways
Moons on trees
The dog trots freely thru the street
and the things he sees
are smaller than himself
Fish on newsprint
Ants in holes
Chickens in Chinatown windows
their heads a block away
The dog trots freely in the street
and the things he smells
smell something like himself
The dog trots freely in the street
past puddles and babies
cats and cigars
poolrooms and policemen
He doesn’t hate cops
He merely has no use for them
and he goes past them
and past the dead cows hung up whole
in front of the San Francisco Meat Market
He would rather eat a tender cow
than a tough policeman
though either might do
And he goes past the Romeo Ravioli Factory
and past Coit’s Tower
and past Congressman Doyle
He’s afraid of Coit’s Tower
but he’s not afraid of Congressman Doyle
although what he hears is very discouraging
very depressing
very absurd
to a sad young dog like himself
to a serious dog like himself
But he has his own free world to live in
His own fleas to eat
He will not be muzzled
Congressman Doyle is just another
fire hydrant
to him
The dog trots freely in the street
and has his own dog’s life to live
and to think about
and to reflect upon
touching and tasting and testing everything
investigating everything
without benefit of perjury
a real realist
with a real tale to tell
and a real tail to tell it with
a real live
democratic dog
engaged in real
free enterprise
with something to say
about ontology
something to say
about reality
and how to see it
and how to hear it
with his head cocked sideways
at streetcorners
as if he is just about to have
his picture taken
for Victor Records
listening for
His Master’s Voice
and looking
like a living questionmark
into the
great gramaphone
of puzzling existence
with its wondrous hollow horn
which always seems
just about to spout forth
some Victorious answer
to everything

* * * *
Muhammad Ali beat Chuck Wepner in 15 rounds on this date in 1975. Wepner did the unexpected and almost went the distance against the champion; he knocked Ali down in the 9th. It is said that the fight, and Wepner’s undoubted bravery in the bout, inspired Sylvester Stallone to write the script for his film, “Rocky.” Stallone has not been a reliable source about this, having stated at different times that the Ali-Wepner fight both was and was not the inspiration for his film hero.

* * * *
A private was inducted in the U.S. Army on this date in 1958 and was assigned #53310761 for his dog tags. He was one of several dozen sworn in that day at Fort Chaffee, near Fort Smith, Arkansas, but he was the only one named Elvis Presley.

* * * *
Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery died 40 years ago today.

* * * *
Harry Houdini was born on this date in 1874. Dorothy Height was born in 1912 on this date. Steve McQueen was born on this date in 1930.

* * * *
Dario Fo is 90 today. Bob Mackie is 76 today. R. Lee Ermey is 72. Nick Lowe is 67 today.

Kelly Le Brock is 56 today. My friend Sean Marrinan is 55 today. I enjoyed writing things for him to perform, like this:

The Undertaker is 51 today. Lara Flynn Boyle is 46 today. Peyton Manning is 40. Lake Bell is 37 today.

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  1. Anton Wills-Eve · March 24, 2016

    Mark, you must stop these coincidences. My sister (15 months older) is also called Michelle ☺ & re Manning I’m a Broncos FANatic! Ciao Anton

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rogershipp · March 25, 2016

    “The Undertaker” …. from WWE? What a great good-guy/villain! Are you a WWE fan? … Or is this something you want the world to know?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aldrich · March 25, 2016


      I have had moments of fandom, but not in recent years. Saw a live pre-RAW show in Cedar Rapids almost 15 years ago. It was fascinating: no announcers, no music, no intros, just the “bouts” in a dress rehearsal of the next night’s live TV show, which was going to take place in Des Moines the following night (Monday).

      Liked by 1 person

      • rogershipp · March 25, 2016

        Wow! That would be great. Although, I like the drama and fanfare??? Not sure what that says about me??? I am still a watcher sometimes. I try to stay current when Ccna is in the mix.

        Liked by 1 person

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